St Pauls FallHow long is Lydia staying with us?

The question is asked many times every week. And the answer is:

As long as it takes.

We are in an important in-between time — a time of working, praying, and waiting. As much as we might like to know when it will be over, this is a process that can’t — and shouldn’t — be rushed.

And as long as we are moving forward, Lydia is committed to journeying with us.

Let’s review the process so far, and get everybody caught up on where we are now.

First came the Missional Assessment Process, or MAP. Late in 2015 a team of Saint Paulites worked with an ECMN consultant to assess Saint Paul’s strengths and interests, and to look at the neighborhood around the church. The question was asked: Where is God already at work in our neighborhood, and how can Saint Paul’s be involved in God’s work? From the MAP, priorities were set, and the parish profile was shaped.

Step 2 was the Discover Process, in which a second team of Saint Paulites drafted the parish profile and a description of the kind of leadership Saint Paul’s is looking for in its next rector. This information was posted on national search sites, and applications began to come into the bishop’s office. A search committee was formed at Saint Paul’s.

In Step 3, Bishop Prior and Canon Karen Olson are reviewing applications, and forwarding on to our search committee the candidates that seem to be good matches for us. The search committee is diligently interviewing and reviewing. The bishop continues to send more applications our way. The process continues, and will continue, until the right person is found.

In the meantime we continue our work of praying, waiting, and being the church. The vestry and staff continue to work at strengthening the infrastructure, both physically with the building and support systems, and spiritually through worship, faith formation, community life, etc. — while at the same me taking our leap of faith to become engaged in the neighborhood, and to take risks for the sake of God’s work in and through us.

Please continue to pray for Saint Paul’s, for the search committee, and for the person God will send to be our next rector.

The following prayer was found on the website of Christ Episcopal Church, Cedar Park, Texas, from their rector search in 2014. It is offered here with gratitude to the anonymous author:

Lord, we ask you to guide the members of our Search Committee in their selection of candidates for our new spiritual leader. Give them wisdom and insight into the qualities of leadership needed to best serve our precious church.

Encourage the spirit of the person who will become our priest to accept with joy your choice for him/her to lead us as we move forward as a faith-filled church.

Give us all a sense of happy anticipation as we await the one we know will be the right one according to your plan for us. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Letter from Your Wardens (click to view)


August 29, 2019
Dear Saint Paul’s Parish Family,

We are sorry to share so early in our journey with Father Marcus that he has submitted his resignation and will be leaving us October 6, 2019. He has accepted a position at the Diocese of Connecticut. In his new position, he will be the Dean of Formation and will also be working as a Missional Priest-in-Charge of a faith community. This is a wonderful opportunity for him allowing him to continue to strengthen his gifts. The Diocese of Connecticut will benefit as we have from Father Marcus’s passion. Although it is hard to see him go, we have learned and done wonderful things as a parish with his leadership and guidance over the past 2-1/2 years. It will be exciting to watch his continued growth from afar knowing we were blessed to have been part of his early career. Father Marcus’s letter to the parish is included in this email.

So now we begin to look forward. Beth and I will be in contact with ECMN and Bishop Prior to plan for an interim priest and to look at putting together a search committee. We will gather together and consider what we have learned about ourselves during our time with Father Marcus. This is a chance for us to evaluate where we are and to make plans for moving forward: what we want to be sure to carry forward, what things we might want back that have changed, and yes, what might not have been tackled yet that we want to explore? We ask that each of you give prayerful consideration to these questions. They will be foundational to our Rector search.

We know the amazing strength of this parish and are confident we will become even stronger from the challenge that has been put in front of us. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

Meredith Johnson, Senior Warden ( Beth Carlson, Junior Warden (

Dear Saint Paul’s,

It is with a mix of sadness and joy that I inform you that I offered my resignation to the Vestry on Monday, August 19. My last day as your priest will be Sunday, October 6, 2019. I have accepted a call to serve as the Dean of Formation for the Episcopal Church in Connecticut, a position that will also include serving as a Missional Priest-in- Charge of a faith community there.

Throughout my time as your Rector, I’ve tried to preach, teach, and exemplify a consistent message: each of us is called to grow in Christian maturity to meet the challenges and opportunities of being the Church in this new missional age. Our patron, Saint Paul the Apostle, calls this the “full stature of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). This means taking seriously our individual and collective calls to be leaders, not only within the walls of our parish but also in the wider community. Leading, especially in times of great change, means taking risks, being open to failure that leads to learning, collaborating with others, and standing firmly in our identity and purpose.

People across Saint Paul’s Church have heard this message, stepped up, and stepped forward. Together, we have faced down a major challenge head-on –tackling our budget deficit– and as a result are experiencing a renewal of energy and spirit. We have new ministries popping up all around, a greater capacity for innovation, and deeper commitment to Christ and the mission of God he invites us into. There are others who are still afraid to step forward or unsure where they fit, and that’s okay. Saint Paul’s moves forward together.

My new role will give me the opportunity to help form other ordained leaders in what we’ve done together: translating an age-old faith to a contemporary context. I am excited and honored to be asked by Bishop Ian Douglas to serve the Church in this role.

None of this takes away the anxiety, sadness, or grief that many will feel at this time. Transitions are always hard, especially when it comes when things are going well. I have not served as your Rector for long, but we’ve done a lot together. I will pray for you as you discern what leadership model God might be inviting you to try and who might best step into that role to walk alongside you as you continue engaging God’s mission. Your wardens are two of the most capable people I’ve ever met and together with your vestry and the entire community, as it has for the last 139 years, your journey continues.

There will be time to say goodbye, and I will continue to serve faithfully until my final day. In the meantime, the mission of God calls us onward. There are individuals and communities in need of the Gospel – and it is our job as followers of Jesus Christ to proclaim it, in word and example.

Faithfully, Marcus+


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