Read Tim Safford’s letter to the parish and community here.
FROM THE VESTRY OF CHRIST CHURCH, APRIL 18, 2021
Grace to you, and we greet you in the peace of the risen Christ.
As announced in worship on April 18, the Christ Church vestry has accepted the resignation of the nineteenth rector, the Reverend Timothy Browning Safford. Tim’s last day as our rector will be on March 31, 2022, just shy of his 23rd anniversary at Christ Church.
Throughout his time with us, Tim led us toward true koinonia grounded in agape love and expanded our vision of welcome of ourselves and others with the weekly words “Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on the journey of faith, you belong here, just as you are.”
The vestry has decided to look to this time as one of immense opportunity. In the midst of sadness, there is room for joy and excitement for our next chapter. Our congregation is healthy. During the pandemic, our virtual numbers have remained steady. Over 100 people came to celebrate the risen Christ on Easter Sunday. We are steadfast in our stewardship. All of this demonstrates our love for each other and Christ Church, and that will not waiver.
As we work together this next year and then into the period of transition, we are blessed to have a supportive clergy and who will assist in maintaining continuity. The vestry is deeply grateful to the Reverend Susan Richardson, Parker Kitterman, Cecilia Wagner, the staff members who will continue to shepherd our spiritual life, and for the Reverend Palmer Hartl, who will continue to serve. Barbara Hogue, Executive Director of the Preservation Trust, will continue her work to expand the Trust’s reach and engagement with the community. Each of us has work to do if we are to live out the mission we identified in our recent Strategic Planning process. That Study laid out a vision for our future, and work has already begun to implement that vision. The work will continue and it is up to us to achieve it.
Transitions happen at the best of times. Our responsibility as a congregation is to decide how we wish to manage it. Over the next year, we will celebrate Tim’s ministry while searching for an interim rector who will join us. At that time, we will continue the work of discerning who is to be and then calling the twentieth rector of Christ Church. As Bishop Daniel Gutiérrez reminds us, our next rector has already been called; our job is to pray for guidance to find that person.
The vestry will offer space for the congregation to come together at a parish-wide forum on Sunday May 2nd, immediately after the Sunday service. We will hear directly from Tim regarding his transition. We will then hold listening sessions to hear from you. The dates for these gatherings are at the end of this letter. You should also feel free to reach out to any member of the Clergy or vestry. We are here to listen.
This will be a time for deep prayer for all of us, as we seek God’s guidance. To assist us in this important ministry, Bill Myers, a former vestry member, will lead our newly created Prayer Committee that will pray for our congregation and all those involved in our transition.
There will be other opportunities for you to offer your time and talents as our incredible journey unfolds. Our love for Tim, each other, Christ Church and the Risen Christ will carry us through, united as one by the Holy Spirit, as we begin the next chapter in our history.
Signed by the Christ Church Vestry, April 18, 2021