Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, I have had the extreme honor of serving you at St. Matthews Cathedral for the last three years. Shortly after I arrived, the world went into a pandemic, and I sensed that this was the reason I was called here - to help the cathedral through a difficult time. Months ago, as we began to come out of the worst part of the pandemic, I realized it was time to be open to a new call.
As you may remember, I was recommended to you by Bishop John Smylie who appointed me a Dean-in-Charge. Julie and I quickly fell in love with the people here and the town of Laramie' After six months, the parish, represented by the vestry, voted to install me as the cathedral's Dean. This was a rather unconventional start at an unconventional time! Normally, the in-charge, model is an opportunity for both the priest and the congregation to discern at a natural pace whether God is calling them to each other.
However, just as we were getting to know one another and getting established, COVID hit' This brought, u, yo, well know, its own set of challenges. Life for all of us was disrupted and confusing. In-person church services were halted, as were pastoral visits. With God's help and your support, I led us through this difficult time to the best of my ability, and together we accomplished so much. But from early on, I sensed that my purpose was to help the cathedral through the pandemic, not to serve as your Dean for many years.
Now, with God's help, we find ourselves coming out of this difficult time. It is a time of new beginnings and opportunities, as well as challenges for our cathedral. Thankfully, we have a new Bishop who is supporting us in spiritual, missional, and financial ways. Out of our recent visioning day, new and exciting ministry ideas emerged, and leaders are starting to plan next. steps. And since I have been in this discernment mode for some time, I decided it was now time to announce publicly that I have begun the search for my next call, as I know I am not the one to lead the Cathedral in its next chapter. My hope and prayer is that while the cathedral and I are both discerning our next chapters, we can be supportive of each other.
I told Bishop Paul-Gordon about this just after our visioning day, and I shared my news with the Rev. Gary Jones during his recent visit among us. Both the bishop and Gary have been very helpful and encouraging to me during this process, and I am thankful for their support. I know that they will be helpful to Julie and me, as we make decisions about our next chapter. And I know that they will be helpful to the cathedral, as the cathedral community imagines its future and the work of calling a new dean. We all agree that open communication, trust, and a collegial relationship with the Diocese of Wyoming are very important. The reason Julie and I delayed making this announcement publicly was that we needed to speak personally with our family first, our girls here in Laramie and then our parents in Casper. I have spent many days and nights deep in prayer over the last year in seeking God's discernment regarding my longer-term ministry. Julie and I love the cathedral's congregation and ministry, and we have been deeply blessed here. However, after a long period of ongoing discernment, Julie and I have a strong sense of peace about moving on to our next call, even though we do not yet know where that will be. I realize that this will likely come as a surprise to many of you. However, I know that a healthy discernment process is one where enough time is allowed to hear the voice of God's Spirit, and I am thankful for having had the opportunity to engage in that discernment privately with Julie over many months.
Julie and I hope to discover where God will be leading us by the end of the summer. However, we realize these things happen according to God's calendar. I also believe God has a special future for the cathedral and strengthening of ministry with the Diocese of Wyoming.
I ask for your prayers not only for our church family but for my family as well as this will be a time of transition for all of us. With God's continued grace, we will continue to love and support each other as this is a time of new beginnings for all of us.
I end this letter with one of my favorite passages from Isaiah.
"Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth; do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Your humble servant, The Very Revd. Brian K. Gross