Read the Latest Updates from Father Charleston on Our Parish Strategic Plan

Parish Strategic Plan: A Letter from the Rector — March 22, 2024

Dear Redeemer Family,

Last year, your Vestry contracted with Saison Consulting, LLC to update our Parish Strategic Plan, helping us focus more effectively and efficiently on our mission to make new Christians and make all Christians new. As I mentioned at the Annual Parish Meeting and Celebration, this is not the time for us to switch gears or look for a new mission. Rather, we need strategic help to become more effective in our current environment of growth and renewal, responding in ways that lay the groundwork for our life together in two years, three years, five years, and beyond.

One of the things our consultants quickly noticed is our need to immediately redistribute some of the staff workload before we begin the strategic planning process in earnest. To that end:

  • Most members of the lay staff will now report to Fr. Michael Hurst, Senior Assistant Rector, instead of reporting directly to me. In addition to his priestly role, Fr. Michael will function as “Chief of Staff,” although that won’t be in his actual title.
  • Susan Gomez has taken on the role of the Rector’s Executive Assistant and Parish Calendar Coordinator. Susan is the best way to reach me, especially when scheduling a meeting, whether in-person or digitally. She can be reached at 941-955-4263 ext. 320 or
  • Angela Ward will support Fr. Hurst, Fr. David Svihel, Fr. Mario Castro, and Fr. Ralph Strohm, and will devote more time working with Fr. Strohm in the area of pastoral care. Angela’s title is now Executive Assistant to the Clergy and Pastoral Care Coordinator.
  • In addition to her excellent ministry to our growing youth community, Jackie Overton has become our staff liaison to all things outreach, offering her immense passion, skill, and care in a very important component of our life together. Jackie’s title is now Director of Youth and Outreach Ministries.
  • Fr. Svihel will take on additional duties in the area of liturgy, working closely with me and all who serve to make worship at Redeemer so wonderful. His new title is Associate Rector for Adult Formation and Liturgy.

There will be many exciting changes — and even some challenges — in the months ahead as we try to position the parish for further sustained growth and outreach. Stay tuned to learn more about the many ways each and every one of us can be part of the parish mission to make new Christians and make all Christians new. This is an incredibly exciting season in our life together!

Your servant,
Fr. Charleston Wilson, Rector, Church of the Redeemer

Parish Strategic Plan: Update — April 4, 2024

Dear Redeemer Family,

As we begin the strategic planning process in earnest, you will receive updates along the way from Vestry members, staff, and ministry leaders, both lay and ordained. (If you missed the last update, visit We are still in the very earliest stages of what will take a year to complete and several years to roll out fully. Remember, all of this is to carry out our mission more effectively — to make new Christians and make all Christians new.

As we get going, it is important to revisit one of life’s indisputable truths: namely, that change of any kind — even positive change — is first experienced as loss. This is particularly true in family systems, such as large parish churches.

I am grateful to several longtime members who’ve reached out to me since the last update, sharing concerns and fears about changing the way we do things at Redeemer. In each case, anxieties were assuaged when I reiterated that we aren’t changing the mission or worship. What we are taking a fresh look at is how we sort ourselves and creating systems to grow faster and deeper for the sake of the gospel.

Of particular anxiety for a few has been a perception of “losing” direct access to me at any time. (Admittedly, my last update could have been interpreted like I was moving to the French Riviera and may drop in on Christmas and Easter.) Every member and friend of the parish will always be able to reach me, but I am asking everyone with non-emergency requests to meet with me to contact my Executive Assistant Susan Gomez by calling 941-955-4263 ext. 320 or emailing This will allow me to serve the parish better and more efficiently — more people, not fewer. Of course, my teenage children have wonderful ways of saying and seeing things. I asked Gus to read the first update I sent out, and he said, “I get it, Dad, but remember you’re a servant leader, not a CEO.” While I fully agree with his assessment, I did point out — and he agreed — that the most effective servant leaders need systems around them to make them more effective, especially in a growing organization. So that’s why I’ve decided to have an Executive Assistant manage my calendar. I’m not stepping back from parish duties; I’m doing all this to dig in.

I fully expect that implementing what will eventually be our completed strategic plan will be incredibly challenging at times. But this doesn’t mean we aren’t called to do it. In fact, as Christians, we are explicitly called forward in faith, never backward in fear. At the tomb, St. Mary Magdalene wanted to touch the resurrected Jesus for comfort, but He told her not to hold onto him. While there is much to say about this unique moment, one thing Jesus was communicating is that we can’t go back just because it’s comfy. Nostalgia can kill any system. Disciples are called to embrace the new, resurrected life that is always looking ahead. Mary Magdalene wanted to hold Him, remembering their times together before His passion, death, and resurrection. But Jesus had a new mission for her — to tell the world He was raised! She ultimately embraced her new calling, becoming the first one to tell the apostles the good news. Similarly, God is now calling us into a new season of life and growth together, and it’s all very exciting!

So, looking forward to the days ahead, I remain:

Your servant,
Father Charleston Wilson, Rector, Church of the Redeemer