Welcome from Our New Rector
To the Parish at St. Peter’s Ellicott City:
It is with great excitement, appreciation, and expectation that I am accepting the call to be your next rector! Your vestry leaders, search committee members, and I have taken the time to meet, pray, and listen as to how God may be inviting us to journey together—and I believe we have had our own version of an Acts 15 moment. It “seems right to us and to the Holy Spirit” that we should join together in ministry, and I am humbled to do so as your next priest.
This is certainly a unique way to become rector, as I’ve had the privilege of getting to know many of you during my time as a transitional deacon and priest over the last months—as you have me. It is also an interesting time, as we still find ourselves in a community and world impacted by this novel coronavirus pandemic. Be that as it may, I do feel a sense of excitement, as we will have the opportunity to re-engage in the work that St. Peter’s has done so well over the last years, and has continued through the last year and a half: serving our neighbors in Ellicott City and beyond.
Beyond excitement, I have a deep appreciation for what I have witnessed and experienced at St. Peter’s. The legacy of resilience in this congregation and community is evident. Over the course of your history, you have faced (literal and figurative) trials by fire, you have experienced (literal and figurative) death, to be followed by the real presence and power of resurrection hope—or as you often call it: a celebration of life. Your commitment to be an inclusive and mission-driven church is refreshing and crucial. Your worship of God though the depth and beauty of our rich Anglican heritage is distinctive and compelling, and has been deeply moving and nourishing for me. And I am so grateful to have had the chance to work with and learn much from Fr. Bruce McPherson as he’s served you so well as your interim rector. Please do keep him and Phebe in your prayers in this next season of life and ministry.
And that leads to a third sentiment: expectation. Naturally, as with any leadership transition, there are questions or expectations as to what comes next. You may have questions about potential change, about the vision and direction of the church, about the future, etc. You also may have certain expectations (spoken or unspoken) of me as your new priest. This is normal and I look forward to talking with you more about these. However, my initial main tasks will be simply these:
to lead us in the worship of God, gathering us around Christ’s table,
to better know you (the members/regular attenders),
to better know the surrounding community (the parish, i.e. Old Ellicott City),
and to prayerfully attend to the work God is doing in our place. I believe to my core that God is already at work in this transition and in this community, and it is both my privilege and joy to co-discover that with you.
As we begin this relationship together and embark on a fresh season of shared ministry, I want to remind you of that which you likely already know:
“The ministers in the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons,” (BCP, 855). We are fellow ministers in this beautiful, messy, and holy thing called the Church. Thank you for being church, and thank you for this invitation to join your community as your rector: to be a priest, a pastor, and a co-laborer, that we may share in the work of making Christ known and renewing God’s world, together.
Your fellow minister in the Church,
The Rev. Derek H. Miller