Dear friends in ministry,
The Epiphany season is a time of new beginnings. That will be especially true for me this year. I have accepted a call to serve as Rector of The Episcopal Church of The Holy Communion in St. Louis, Missouri. This past summer and fall, as I walked with the people of this diocese through the growing movement for racial justice, I was invited to apply for this position. Even as I travelled around the Church and spoke of the work going on in St. Louis, I felt my heart being called back to work in the parish context in this city at this time. Holy Communion is one of the most racially diverse parishes in St. Louis and sits on Delmar Boulevard, the historic line dividing Black and White communities in the city. Holy Communion has been working for reconciliation in the St. Louis region for many years, and I am humbled and honored to be asked to walk with them as the mission continues. I always knew I wanted to return to a parish eventually. I never expected such an invitation to come so fast.
While this news is joyful, it is also sad. I have loved working as a part of The Missionary Society. When Bishop Stacy and Sam McDonald first talked with me about coming here, they invited me to see my time here as an "adventure.” This ministry has surely been adventurous. I could never have anticipated how rewarding this work has been. This year has widened my perspective on the church, the shape of ministry, and the possibilities for mission. I have been incredibly blessed by supportive and creative colleagues on the staff. I have also been inspired as I’ve listened to the stories talented and passionate leaders in so many different contexts across The Episcopal Church. This year has been an immense gift, and I leave this work incredibly hopeful about the future of Christ’s mission in our church.
This important ministry that we shared in together will continue with the excellent guidance of the Reverend Shannon Kelly. Shannon will oversee the ministry of young adults on and off campuses as the Acting Missioner. Shannon is known, loved and greatly respected by many of us. Her experience, creativity and faithfulness to this ministry will nurture our mission and lead us to new places.
My last day on the staff of The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society will be March 13. In the month ahead our team will be working hard to ensure there is strong support for the many initiatives and networks supported by the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministries. I will celebrate my first Sunday at Holy Communion on Palm Sunday, in time to walk through Holy Week with my new parish. Know of my great thanks for all of the support offered by this network this year, and my prayers for The Episcopal Church’s continuing ministry to young adults on and off college campuses across our church.
The Rev. Michael Angell