Dear Saints of Emmanuel,
I write to thank the following people:
Thank you to the Wardens: Martha Montgomery, Senior Warden; Lindsay Herbert, Junior Warden; Jesse Craig, Secretary; and Demetreus Gregg, Treasurer. The Wardens have been wise, dedicated, and appropriately attentive to the micro and macro issues of leadership at Emmanuel.
Thank you to the Vestry: Rebecca Atwater, Matthew Crenson, Saidah Grimes, Doty Jackson, David Kettler, Tiffany Lundquist, Jonathan Mester, Vickie Miller, Ashley Newtown, and Gregory Weidman. These servant-leaders have met regularly together with the Wardens, prayerfully discerning what is best for Emmanuel and how to most faithfully lead the parish. It is a graceful dance to balance all the interests, passions, and constituencies that comprise Emmanuel.
Thank you to the Reverend Joseph Wood, Associate Rector, for his liturgical creativity and insight; for his Biblical and theological preaching and teaching; for his tireless logistical dedication; and for his presence with the Urbanites and Children’s Ministry. Joe has taught me a great deal, and I know he will continue to serve you faithfully.
Thank you to Walter Ridgeway, for your excellence in overseeing the financial and building management at Emmanuel.
Thank you to Kim Harris, for your positive attitude; administrative and pastoral skills; and for the 40 years of service to Emmanuel that continues to bring perspective and untold blessings to the community.
Thank you to Antoin Quarles and Sheila Miller, for the diverse Sexton duties of setting up, cleaning up, and other miscellaneous tasks that provide us both a functional building and a beautiful worship space.
Thank you to Jordan Prescott, for being a tremendous blessing to Emmanuel. Your ability to translate the notes, the intentions of the composers, and the current pastoral/liturgical situation at Emmanuel into beautiful organ music is nothing less than inspiring.
Thank you to John Repulski, for bringing a comprehensive vision, an experienced track record, and a pastoral sensitivity to his role as Director of Music & the Arts. Not only is John an excellent musician, but he is also wise and intuitive in drawing on the wide and diverse pieces of music available to church musicians. (You should know that few musicians have the capability or will to integrate the Classical Repertoire with Jazz, Rock and Roll, Gospel, African and African-American Spirituals, Contemporary praise music, Taize, and numerous other musical genres.) John’s music; his leadership of the choir and Jordan; and his commitment to ministry—all form a liturgical mosaic each Sunday that is an incredible gift for Emmanuel and visitors to the parish.
Thank you to the Outreach Committee, the Anti-Racism Project, the Brown Bag Discussion, the Adult Forum, the Lenten Series, and all of the other groups who have welcomed me into your midst. Your thirst for knowledge, wisdom, and justice is unique, inspiring, and an enormous future potential for Emmanuel, for Baltimore, and for the world.
Thank you to all of you, Emmanuel. I have prayed for you each every day, and I shall continue that discipline. Thank you for welcoming me into your midst. Thank you for your wisdom, compassion, support, and prayers. It has been a much shorter season of mutual ministry than any of us expected, and yet I fervently hope that our ministry together has been a blessing.
I know God is calling me back to my wife, Sara; to our old basset hound and lively puppy; and to my ancestral home in the Philadelphian suburbs full-time. Regardless of my departure, you will never, ever be alone. The Vestry, Staff, and the Rev. Wood will continue to faithfully serve and lead you, and the Bishop and the Diocese will continue to support you in this transition.
Emmanuel, you are all God’s saints, made in God’s likeness and image, and hence you have enormous hope and potential for the future. Never forget that God is with you and that with God’s love and power in your midst, everything and anything good is possible.
Please take the opportunity to say goodbye to me if you feel so inclined. I will be at Emmanuel full-time through June 17th. After June 17, 2018, I will no longer be your Priest/Pastor and Rector and, therefore, all pastoral and liturgical concerns will be in the hands of your Vestry and the Rev. Wood. While I would love to be able to stay in contact with you, it would be inappropriate to do so.
All Shall Be Well, Emmanuel. And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well. Be Still and Know that God is Good, Faithful and Loving to You.
With My Prayers,
The Rev. Hentzi Elek