Dear Friends of the Redeemer:
For the last four years, the Reverend Emily Garcia has brought her creative spirit, passion for justice, and love of children to every part of the Redeemer’s life. And so it is with sadness that we will bid her farewell on Sunday, February 28th. Rev. Garcia has been called to the clergy staff of the Church of Our Redeemer in Lexington, Massachusetts.
Our parish has a long tradition of calling talented young deacons as curates and seeing them grow and mature as priests. Sam Rodman began his ordained ministry at the Redeemer and now serves as diocesan bishop of North Carolina. Tim Crellin’s remarkable ministry to the South End began here as well. Marc Eames served a faithful curacy and is now rector in Medfield, Massachusetts. I look forward to seeing the path that Emily’s ministry takes as well.
While the time is short before her departure, I invite you to drop Emily a note or email letting her know how important her ministry has been to you and your family. As a customary thank you, I invite you to make a gift to a purse we will collect for Emily. Please make your checks payable to Church of the Redeemer, and we will make sure they are gathered and given in thanks and best wishes. (Please remember that purse gifts are gifts made to the recipient and not to the parish. Therefore, they are not tax-deductible donations.)
Emily has continued to build on the fine foundation and tradition of children’s ministry here at the Redeemer. Over the next days and weeks, the Sunday School Committee, the Wardens and the officers of the Vestry will be working hard to seek out Emily’s successor. I hope to have good news on that front very soon.
For Emily’s ministry among us, I hope you will join me in giving thanks. I include her farewell letter below.
Faithfully and Fondly,
It is with a heart both heavy and light that I write to tell you I will be leaving the Redeemer after the first Thursday in March. I will be taking a new role, later that month, as Assistant Rector at Our Redeemer in Lexington, serving under the Rev. Kate Ekrem. My focus there will be the same--on the Christian education and fellowship of children and teens. Many of you know how I feel called to this ministry in particular; there are very few jobs like this in our diocese, so I felt pulled to take advantage of this new chance to learn, especially under such an experienced priest.
While I look forward to what lies ahead, it would be impossible to leave with a light step--because I love this parish so much, and I am sad to lose you. In the last few months, I’ve been wondering if you know how much I love you all. I’m wondering if sometimes my ways of showing love didn’t quite match up with how this community wanted to receive love. Omar and I chose to be married here because we love you. To be married with our beloved Sunday Schoolers in our procession, to be married in a ceremony designed and led by the wise Suzy Westcott and Michael Murray, to be married with our angelic choir and their incredible gift of leadership and song, and to be married with so many of you praying with us--all of these are eternal gifts to us.
It’s true that my love has sometimes taken the shape of bringing up difficult topics. This is how my own family shows love--we love each other too much to let things stay unspoken! I know that I have sometimes challenged you, in sermons, in Bible Study, in committees, and in our new conversations about race. And I took these many different risks because I wanted to be able to be myself fully, with integrity, around you--because I love you.
I know that my leaving in the middle of an already difficult time may feel to some of you like a betrayal, or at the very least a very disappointing choice. Please know that I did not do this lightly, and that Omar and I came to this choice with great care. In preparation for leaving, I’ve spent many hours of my free time compiling all the details, calendars, and materials needed for the person who follows me in directing the children’s and teens’ programs. I will also be working with the Sunday School Committee--a powerful crowd of do-ers and thinkers!--to plan for the interim. This is one of the ways I would like to show you my love as I leave.
I hope you know that you will remain in my heart and on my mind after I’ve left. You will always be the first place that I was a priest! You will always be the community in which we were married. And you’ll be on my mind because I do think and will continue to think of you individually all the time--what would X feel about this? this story would make Y laugh so hard! I wonder what Z would make of this Bible verse? It has been a privilege to carry you in my heart. I will keep you in my prayers--and if you have a moment to spare for a prayer for me, I would be so grateful for it!