August 22, 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ at St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church:
Last week I received an offer to join the staff at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee. After much intensive thought, prayer, and discussion with my family, I have decided to accept this offer. Among its resources, St. George’s sponsors an Institute of Church and Cultural Life, which I would oversee, which hosts annual conferences featuring national speakers who address urgent contemporary concerns and how the Church is called to address them. Furthermore, St. George’s has been among the leadership of the Communion Partners, which is the primary vehicle through which orthodox and Biblically-based Episcopal clergy, bishops, and congregations seek to maintain our relationship in the Anglican communion. Both of these issues have been important to me for years, and I believe they are vital to our common life as Episcopalians these days. In short, I believe that this appointment is a clear call from God to which I am eager to respond. Sally and Augusta are also excited about a move to Tennessee, where we would be closer to family.
There are many good reasons for our move to take place sooner rather than later. Therefore, my last Sunday with you all will be September 9. In between now and then, while my family and I travel to Nashville to establish our living and school situation, I will be in constant contact with our Senior Warden, Cat Anderson, Fr. Chad Martin, and Bishop Doyle’s office to make sure that this transition is as healthy and as smoothly run as possible.
There is so much more to say, and so little time to say it. Sally, Augusta, and I have dearly loved our time with you all. Through you, God has changed our lives for the better in countless and profound ways. St. Thomas’ is a nexus of traditional worship, classic Christian teaching, and authentic interpersonal love that does not exist anywhere else; it could not be replicated even if people tried to do so. I know that God will continue to bless this wonderful and precious place. In fact, I am confident that St. Thomas’ best days are yet to come. Perhaps St. Paul’s says it best:
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all, making request with joy for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phillippians 1:3-6).”
I hope to see you all in church over the next few Sundays, and especially on September 9. May God continue to bless you and the parish family at St. Thomas’, as He has always done.
Faithfully, and Gratefully,
The Rev. Christopher A. Bowhay