Fr. Matthew Calkins, after 13 years as Rector of St. Timothy's, has been called to a position as Rector at Grace Episcopal Church in Millbrook, New York. The letter below is an expression of affection and appreciation from our congregation upon his departure. For more information on "What happens next?" please see "Transition Process" in the web site Announcements section, or click here.
Letter to our Rector September 13, 2014
There’s no such thing as a perfect priest. If we didn’t already know that from watching The Thorn Birds, we’ve learned it from the past 13 years at St. Tim’s.
A perfect priest would be a model of organization. He would always remember who was doing what; everyone would be kept informed by his timely communication. A perfect priest would never select an unsingable hymn, preach for more than 10 minutes, or face us in front of the altar with his stole off kilter.
It’s true—for the past 13 years at St. Timothy’s, we have not had a perfect priest. We have had something much better. We have had you.
It’s a good thing, too, because a more perfect, more traditional priest might have retreated off the hill years ago. You, Matt, have been just the leader we needed—endlessly energetic, eternally optimistic, astute, creative, and sometimes just a little bit stubborn. Using all of those qualities and sustained by your faith, you guided this parish through some difficult years. Eventually you persuaded us to step forward in faith as well—first to pave the parking lot, and later, to launch a capital campaign . . . during a recession. The space we’re gathered in tonight is just one of the results of that campaign.
This community asset that we now call St. Timothy’s on the Hill is one part of your legacy. But if every structure on this hill disappeared tomorrow, your most important work would remain. That’s the work you’ve done in building us up, as individuals and as a congregation. Day by day, you have shared our journeys. You have lifted us up, rejoiced with us, cried with us. And always you have found ways to enrich and encourage us. In one sermon you talked about the architect Renzo Piano and his work on the Morgan Library. One of his challenges was to provide additional space while working with a building code that limited his options for changing the outside of the structure. His solution was to blast through bedrock to create new space underground. Your lesson was that the obstacles we face give us opportunities to dig deeper, to explore and to grow our own inner spaces, and in so doing, enrich not only ourselves but the world around us.
And so it has been with us—and with you. Together we have faced obstacles and we have grown. You leave behind a small but deeply committed and tightly connected community of friends. As you move on to the next phase of your ministry, know that you and Mary will be in our thoughts and prayers, and also in our hearts, where we will always treasure the gift of our time with you.
Until we meet again, we remain,
Your friends in Christ,
The community at St. Timothy’s on the Hill
"This is my Church." Lois Leftwich on St. Timothy's