Important Message From Dean Paul
Dear Saint Markans & Friends,
I pray this note finds you well, savoring these precious summer days of rest and refreshment.
I’m writing to let you know that, after significant prayer, my family and I have discerned that it’s time to transition into my next chapter in ministry: a move back to the Pacific Northwest, to parish ministry, and to our extended family, especially our aging parents and growing nieces. As part of that move back to the Pacific Northwest, I have accepted a call to serve as rector of Saint Andrew’s, Tacoma beginning November 1st. My final Sunday with you will be August 27th.
Nine years ago, when I was called to serve as your Dean, none of us could have then imagined the course our journey would take. We have served together faithfully through both good times and bad, through the full gamut of life’s joys and sorrows, through hopes and fears and expectations and disappointments. This shared chapter in our lives has been rich, rewarding, and revelatory. We are, each of us, ready for what’s next.
As you know well, Saint Mark’s is a very sweet and special faith community, quite extraordinary in its role, place, and property as the diocesan cathedral, but really quite ordinary in its life as God’s people – purposefully gathering the lost and lonely, tenderly caring for each other’s hopes and hurts, regularly abiding in the Word, faithfully sharing the Meal, conscientiously returning to our lives as changed people who follow the Way of Love. I have absolutely loved serving among you, watching how you care for each other, how you create room at the table for new folks, how you celebrate beauty and honor silence, how you take risks to care about things that matter. I’m excited for your next chapter and am absolutely convinced you have everything you need to be the Church God has called you to be.
Among the many strengths you have is a brilliant, creative, and deeply committed Staff and Ministry Team, all of whom love Saint Mark’s and who serve from that deep well of affection. You’re also blessed with very capable Council members, ministry leaders, and volunteers. I have every confidence that, if you keep the main thing the main thing, your future will be very bright, indeed.
We have accomplished some great things together: multiple major staff restructures, a major facility overhaul and reconfiguration, both interior and exterior signage improvements, and a transformative A/V installation in the Nave. But what I’m most proud of is our work to continue identifying, inviting, and raising up gifted Saint Markans for ministry leadership, both lay and ordained. We are gifted beyond measure, and the stewardship of those gifts is our greatest strength, from first contact to full participation. I pray you’ll always trust God to provide – time, talent, and treasure.
As a point of personal privilege, I want to express my deepest gratitude to you for shaping, supporting, and challenging me through this important chapter in my own life – through the death of my father, through the uncertainty and grief of the COVID pandemic, through the very earliest stages of introspection and reckoning in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, through the graduation of my sons – you have afforded me room to reflect both privately and publicly on the meaning of it all. You have made me a better person and a better priest. I can’t thank you enough for that. And to those dear ones who’ve hazarded to walk most closely with me these nine years, my most profound thanks for your companionship, compassion, wit, and wisdom. I take comfort knowing we’ll abide in God’s great big heart together, forever.
Our family leaves Minnesota with a wealth of precious memories – from the kindness shown to our boys during our very first visit to the deep relationships formed over the years. Our time here has been life-changing. I fell in love with running here. I announced high school soccer games here. I embraced the rugged winters here. I learned to out-smart the mosquitos here. I savored the urban waterways here. And, of course, I fell completely head-over-heels for the Minnesota State Fair here. We love Minnesota and we leave here taking comfort knowing you will continue to love it after we’re gone.
In the weeks and months ahead, your Cathedral will be guided by its Council, the Bishop, and his team of Missioners. You can anticipate a period of prayerful reflection and deep discernment. I hope you’ll participate to the fullest extent possible as, together, you cast the vision and define the steps toward God’s desired future for you. The process of finding your next Dean will be slow and deliberate, ensuring the profile used to identify that lucky individual is truly born from the hearts and minds of the whole Cathedral community. I trust God will lead you to a fruitful new partnership with the Dean best-suited to lead you through your next chapter. Know that you will remain in my prayers – and in my mind, my heart, my bones.
I remain ever yours, in Christ,
Dear Fellow St. Markans,
You are hearing today that Dean Paul will depart St. Mark’s on August 31, 2023, and that his last Sunday will be August 27, 2023. I know I’m joined by you all in my wishes for the very best for Dean Paul and his family as they transition back to the state of Washington.
Here at St. Mark’s, we will have important work to do together in the coming weeks. The Cathedral will be without a Dean in the first instance; thereafter, capable leaders whom the Bishop will have identified as candidates for Interim Dean will be presented for our consideration together.
Then, while we are served by an Interim Dean, we will undertake to search for our Cathedral’s next Dean. The value of the search process will rise commensurately with the robustness of congregants’ participation in the search. I will look forward to working with you.
Again, let us wish the best for Dean Paul and his family, and please stay tuned for details concerning a send-off to take place on August 27, 2023.
Brian M. Childs