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February 16, 2022

My most dear parishioners,

I write this letter with profoundly mixed emotions, for with this letter I announce my intention to retire as Rector of St. James’ Church.  While such a letter was an inevitability, that has not made its composition any easier.  The fact is that I have loved and continue to love serving among you.  When I arrived as your Rector in November of 1996, I never could have imagined this long tenure, nor envisioned all the ways in which we have grown together, and are growing still.  I will not attempt to enumerate them here, except to say that I am proudest of the ways we have more and more sought to know Jesus, love Jesus and walk in his ways, knowing we walk always in the light of the resurrection.  That matters most and will sustain us all through this period of transition.

Happily, this transition will allow us time together.  When I first knew that the time was coming for me to retire, I spoke with our Diocesan Bishop, Andrew Dietsche, and because of St. James’ vitality and faithfulness, he has graciously permitted me to continue as your Rector until the new Rector is called.  The search process for a new Rector, which the Wardens outline in their accompanying letter, usually requires 12-18 months.  Although I will not be involved in the call of my successor, I will be fully here as St. James’ Rector until that process is completed. That delights me and I hope you as well.  Emerging (pray God) from the pandemic, I look forward to our renewed common life – in worship, in ministry, in Christian formation and in joyous fellowship.

St. James’, always located on the Upper East Side, has witnessed to the Gospel within our neighborhood our city and the world for over 200 years, an important reminder that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8)  I could not have envisioned the wonder of the work we have shared for the sake of the kingdom in these past 25 years, but I trusted then and trust now that, led by the Holy Spirit, there is work and wonder ahead for this great parish and you its people.

With my love and gratitude,

Brenda G. Husson