Dear Redeemer Family:
Happy New Year, and welcome to 2021! What are your goals for the new year?
Redeemer’s goal for 2021 is to make new Christians and to make all Christians new. Specifically, we need to add more members than last year, when we added just over 100. We also want to deepen our individual and corporate faith more quickly. This means we must develop the human capital that can empower our goal.
To that end, I am excited to share with you that David Svihel has accepted my call to serve as our Curate, increasing the number of full-time clergy devoted entirely to our goal (a curate is an English term for an assistant priest). David will be ordained deacon on 8 February, and, after six months, he will be ordained priest, as all priests are required first to serve as deacons for six months. David, therefore, will begin his ministry among us as a deacon in mid-February, before serving among us as a priest later in the year. David is married to Kalista, and they have two adorable children, Lilly and Elliot. They come to us from Savannah, Georgia, where David serves as Youth Minister at St. John’s Church, which is a beautiful, historic parish known for traditional Anglican liturgy and preaching.
I believe you will instantly connect with David and his family and see what a gift God has given us. David is a winsome, learned, and articulate leader, with a contagious faith and a great sense of humor. He will serve in all areas of parish ministry. When times allow, we will have a proper welcome reception.
In other clergy news, Fr. Ralph Strohm will become Priest Associate for Pastoral Care on February 28, allowing Fr. Dick Lampert to enjoy some fruits of the retirement he has attempted for at least a decade. Fr Ralph’s role will continue to be part-time. Please join me in thanking Fr. Lampert for his unfailing dedication to all things Redeemer, ranging from Hispanic ministry to teaching, preaching, and pastoral care (and much more). His wife, Molly, also deserves Redeemer’s thanks for her ministry, too.
Deacon Gary Cartwright, who has been serving as our Deacon-in-Residence is needed more at Holy Innocents, Valrico, which is where he lives. He has requested reassignment, and the Bishop has granted it. Deacon Gary promises to visit and serve with us from time to time. Thank you, Gary, for your ministry.
Fr. Chris became Assistant Rector on 1 January, and he will continue to shepherd adult Christian formation and liturgy. Fr. Chris’s ministry among us is tremendous, to say the least, and his work last year to keep us plowing ahead, particularly digitally, made all the difference, especially while many other parishes slowed down. Fr. Chris’s family is icing on the cake. We all adore Kate, M.J., Michael, and Martha. When you see any member of the Wood family, thank them for their ministry among us.
I am happy to announce that Fr. Fred Robinson has become Rector Emeritus of the parish. The Vestry affirmed this decision unanimously. We will benefit from having Fr. Fred celebrate the Eucharist, preach, and teach from time to time. Fr. Fred preached on the Feast of the Holy Name, for example, and we can all look forward to his continued ministry among us.
In accordance with our parish by-laws, your Vestry voted (wisely, I believe) to postpone the Annual Parish Meeting previously scheduled for the last Sunday of this month. This means we will elect new vestry members later in the year when it is safe and practical.
I will use the time previously scheduled for the parish meeting (the time in between the nine and eleven o’clock masses on 31 January) to talk more about the year ahead, deliver what has traditionally been called the Rector’s Address, and celebrate the amazing work that so, so many among us are doing at Redeemer. It will be a parish celebration, and it will be live-streamed and archived for future viewing. If you want to attend in-person, you are cordially invited to do so. As we do at mass, we will maintain safe-distancing and so forth. I will have more exciting news to share with you at that time (and a few more surprises, too).
I’m asking – no, begging – you to pray, and give generously this year, so that we grow faster and deeper than ever. Let’s “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).