A welcome from our new rector, Father Michael Ralph.
Hello to one and all,
As I sit to write this brief note, my family and I are about two months out from our move to Granville and St. Luke’s. We are tying up loose ends, finishing our school year (which doesn’t end for another three weeks here in New York), and saying goodbyes to people we love dearly. If you have ever moved, I think you can probably can relate to what I am describing. In short, it’s a crazy, difficult, and often maddening time because we are currently living in between two worlds… Westhampton Beach and Granville. But in the midst of all the hustle, the bustle, and all of the details to which we need to attend there have been glimpses of God’s grace and love which have made this time bearable.
First of all, there is the excitement of joining you all at St. Luke’s and becoming your priest. From the very first moments of our collective discernment, there was a feeling of warmth that came from my discussions with the search committee. And I have never doubted that God was in the midst of our conversations, our decisions, and our plans. Aimee and I are both Midwestern people to the core and we have long wanted to move back closer to family and friends. So this move to a beautiful community like Granville is one that makes our whole family feel like coming home. Moreover, the fact that Granville is a college town is the icing on the cake. Schools like Denison offer so much to their community and there is always something going on to keep things lively.
But there is another aspect of St. Luke’s that I find so very appealing. I love to see what you are already doing! The fact that over sixty people came together to talk about common ministry, passions, and identity speaks to what kind of church you already are. It has never been my intention to reinvent the spiritual wheel at St. Luke’s. What has attracted me to you in the first place is what you already are! It is my hope and prayer that I can simply facilitate your becoming the church toward which you are already working and moving. You are intelligent and godly people and, hopefully, we will make our way together toward the future that God has for all of us. Each and every member of St. Luke’s is called to be a minister. It’s my desire to help you be the best version of that to the glory of the Kingdom.
I’ve often said that what the church does not need is an opinionated priest telling you what to think. That’s not my call or my style. What I do envision, however, is a whole lot of love, laughter, and collaborative ministry. And I also want to say thank you to all the members who have already sent me cards expressing prayers for our transition to St. Luke’s and prayers for St. Mark’s, here in Westhampton Beach, as I begin the process of separation. Again, these are not easy times. But you all are helping me with your warmth and your prayers. Please know that we are already praying for you and we can’t wait to be with you. You are already a beautiful community of faith and we’re excited to be a part of your lives.
The Rev. Michael Ralph