Dear St. Alban’s,

Three years ago, I had my first Sunday on staff at St. Alban’s. That afternoon, I texted Aaron: “Feeling so incredibly grateful for this opportunity.” I really meant it then and now, three years later, I still really mean it. I am left to on these my final days with you all to say simply that I am so filled with gratitude for this church. No words can fully convey it.

I came to St. Alban’s in the midst of early discernment of my vocation. Taking on this job, I began teaching less at Baylor–spending significantly more time doing church work than academic work. I could not have anticipated that I would leave St. Alban’s, and Waco, with such a clear sense of a vocational call to ordained ministry. As some of you may already know, or may have seen hints from “Doug Toombs” on the prayer list for the last couple years, it has become evident that it is time for Lance and me to move north to be with my parents in this season of life. I will remain a postulant for Holy Orders in the Diocese of Texas alongside Alan and Brian. But, the time has come for my ministry here at the church to come to a close.

The first Bible Study that I taught at St. Alban’s was at the start of our return to meeting in-person. It was held in Mahan Music Room and we were masked, but so happy to be together again. I was nervous. Nervous that the setting would be too awkward, the letter of 1 Peter too off-putting, or simply my style of teaching not fit in with St. Alban’s. What a blessing it was that I immediately found kindred curious minds and earnest faith in all of you. And as we have grown, those traits have not changed nor has my deep and profound gratitude to serve as your teacher.

Thank you St. Alban’s. Thank you for your vulnerability and willingness to really dig into questions of faith, doubt, and Scripture. Thank you for your friendship, for the many ways that you have prayed for me, prayed for my dad. You encouraged me in my gifts, and helped me discern with clarity a love and call to ordained ministry. Thank you for trusting me not only with your intellectual questions, but with your deep wounds, wisdom, and joys.

Many of you have heard me say before that one of the most powerful aspects of our tradition is that we never pray alone. We pray alongside the faithful across time and geography. Minneapolis/St. Paul feels quite far from Waco, but what a gift that we remain united in our prayers, in our reading of Scripture, in our shared new life in baptism, and in Jesus Christ who meets us with great spiritual gifts at the table.

With love, sadness, and gratitude,

Rachel