Farewell from Pastor Mark
Dear sisters and brothers of St. Peter’s,
It hardly seems possible that Janie and I arrived here in Birmingham six years ago. The time has gone by so fast!
Traditionally, a farewell letter allows the minister to brag a bit about his accomplishments, so here goes.
I came to St. Peter’s with five goals:
* Make our physical plant neat, clean, and accessible;
* Strengthen the teaching and preaching ministry, ensuring that it is securely based on solid Biblical exegesis;
* Develop excellent children’s and
* Youth ministries, with well-trained, dedicated leadership and programs which stimulate the children and youth, encouraging them to grow in their faith; and
* A worship ministry which leads St. Peter’s into the presence of God and which is consistent to our Three-Streams culture.
The first four of these goals have been met and the fifth is coming along quite nicely.
In addition, not long after I arrived at St. Peter’s, I met and fell in love with the many Beeson students and their families at our parish. I was determined to create a seminary internship program that was second to none. Since then, eight of our eleven Timothies—those who entered into ordained ministry from this church—have been a part of that program. Faculty and administrators from Beeson and other seminaries, and the leadership of our Diocese and our denomination, all say that our program is the best they know.
All of these successes would be impossible without the help of many of you in this parish. To them, and especially to my hard-working staff, I say thank you, so much, for all you’ve done.
Birmingham, AL is one of the most wonderful places I’ve been. I’ve lived in Europe for many years, as well as many places in the US. I’ve also visited several other locales during my military career and in my ministry, so I have a few points for comparison. The cultural sophistication in this community is delightful. Jani and I have so enjoyed the symphony and the art museum. I am especially grateful for the many outdoor activities so close by, and I’ve been able to get back into one of my passions of the past, hiking.
Another delight during this time at St. Peter’s has been the relocation of my daughter Grace and her husband Justin. Their first child Aidan (Jani’s and my fourth grandchild) was born here, as will their second child later this year.
The parish I’m going to, St. Paul’s Tuscaloosa, is in trouble and I will essentially be doing a replant. Bringing churches and other organizations from a place of crisis to that of health and stability is something with which I have a good deal of experience. The folks at St. Paul’s, the diocese, and the vestry at St. Peter’s are firmly committed to the idea that there needs to be a strong, evangelical Anglican presence in Tuscaloosa, especially as that is the home of the University of Alabama. Part of my duties in this new position will include serving as the Anglican chaplain to the University.
For various family and financial reasons Jani and I will continue to live in Hoover for the time being, so for now I will be commuting to Tuscaloosa some days and staying in a parishioner’s guest quarters on others.
Thank you St. Peter’s for your support: your generous giving, your many hours of hard work, and, most especially, your prayers. Please do continue praying for Jani and me.
I leave behind me a church that is strong, stable, and equipped for growth. May my successor be blessed with much grace to lead St. Peter’s into stronger Gospel witness. May Christ be glorified.