August 1, 2012
To the Parish of Christ Church Cranbrook,
Now that the reality of Gary Hall’s resignation has settled in, we all share mixed reactions and feelings that may, as yet, remain unresolved. Gary and Kathy brought so many dimensions of a rich Christian life into our midst that it will almost certainly take considerable time to fully appreciate the many gifts they have made to our parish life in the brief two-and-one-half years we had them. This much is clear; Gary Hall is an enormously talented priest who has energized our parish and set us on a new course.
Almost four years ago, our Search Committee embarked on its mission determined to call a rector who would lead and inspire us to live our faith through our active, demonstrated participation in the life and work of Christ Church Cranbrook; a rector capable of assisting us on our spiritual journey through the teaching of the word of Christ; someone who would lead us to serve the less fortunate and extend our ministry into the metropolitan Detroit community. Our prayers were answered in Gary Hall. We thank him. Now he is called to the Washington National Cathedral, the official seat of the Episcopal Church in the United States to, in his words, “…deepen its mission of convening conversations about faith and public life at a time of such great polarization.” Gary will bring his enormous talent that we have come to know to this new role. Fortunately, we will continue to benefit from his leadership, but…we will miss him.
Even before the announcement was made public, the Vestry, in a special meeting, responded to Gary’s resignation with deep thanks for his ministry, and strong affirmation and best wishes for his new work. We were of one resolve that we must continue to maintain the momentum we now have in the projects that have become a part of our parish life. We recognize now, more than ever, the need for the strong lay leadership and participation of our members to help Christ Church fulfill its potential. This will involve an adjustment of our mind set as we move forward in the process of discernment and ultimately, the call for a new rector. The participation of church members represents the sustaining force of a vibrant parish. While this will be enhanced and moved to a higher level by a gifted rector, it is our responsibility to be the major determinants of our parish future. In short, we will call a rector to join us in leading our parish forward.
The Vestry has already set about the business of developing an action plan for our next step – identifying and selecting the interim rector. Eventually, we will establish a new Rector Search Committee from among you, the members of our parish. We will work closely with Bishop Wendell Gibbs and The Reverend Canon Lisa Gray and the Diocese through the interim selection and rector search process. Indeed, Lisa attended our special Vestry meeting to offer guidance and support for the work we must do in the months ahead. We are already engaged in a rigorous approach with optimistic time schedules so that we lose no time in identifying an interim rector. We will seek someone with the administrative and pastoral experience necessary to effectively manage a church of our size.
Meanwhile, our talented and committed clergy staff will continue in their normal roles, as will our lay staff. Associate Rector Joyce Matthews will fulfill her plans for a three month sabbatical this fall. While Associate Priests Beth Taylor and Jonathan Sams continue their respective roles in outreach and youth, and spiritual formation, the Diocese has pledged to us additional clergy support as needed. Bishop Gibbs and Canon Gray are enthusiastic in their commitment to provide assistance to move forward in this transitional phase of our parish life.
With God’s help, we have become stronger as a faith community. With prayer and faith, we will soon call a rector who is theologically sound, approachable and flexible, compassionate and enthusiastic about teaching and inspiring us to remain rooted in the Episcopal tradition and belief in the God who loves, forgives and comforts us.
Emery C. King, Senior Warden
Robin Eikenberry, Junior Warden