Cow Hollow Church News
The Episcopal Church of Saint Mary the Virgin
Joining an Amazing Congregation
The Very Rev. Dr. Donald Brown, Interim Rector
Thank you, St. Mary’s community, for so graciously welcoming the Rev. Dr. Deborah White, the Rev. Edward E. “Ted” Thompson, and me into your amazing congregation. Please know that your graciousness means a great deal to each of us.
The three of us had only crossed paths slightly before being called to share interim responsibilities as your vestry and search committee work toward calling a new rector. Some people have asked: how can the parish afford to pay for three more clergy salaries? The answer is that we are splitting what would have been the salary of one full‐ time interim. Why three clergy?
The Church Pension Fund limits the amount of money I can earn as a retired priest so we decided to do a “call share.” As interim rector, I am working half time and as interim pastors, Ted and Deb are a quarter time each. Already it is clear that the various gifts each of us brings to ministry will be beneficial to St. Mary’s during this crucial time of transition.
In February, all three of us were present at most of the Sunday services so you could begin to get to know us: but from March onward, Ted and Deb will be present on about two Sundays a month, and I’ll be with you most Sundays. We will all be sharing some of the priestly duties of services and pastoral care weekly.
Since the end of November, your associate rector has pretty much carried the priestly and administrative responsibilities for St. Mary’s on her own. As you know, Claire has done so with grace, courage, and aplomb that is nothing short of amazing for a newly ordained priest. With three of us joining her in shepherding this very active parish, Claire will have the opportunity to actually take days off again and enjoy her young family in ways that have not been possible for several months.
In this year, the 125th anniversary of St. Mary’s founding, much will be happening, enabling us to celebrate the noble and sometimes tumultuous history of St. Mary’s. You’ll find more information about some of the events that are coming our way in this edition of the Cow Hollow Church News (see page 18).
There is a hymn in the 1982 Hymnal of the Episcopal Church that declares, “God is working his purpose out as year proceeds to year.” In our 125 years of seeking to know God and live God’s saving grace in the world around us, we will gain insights into the march of the Spirit here at Steiner and Union Streets in San Francisco. It’s going to be a year of learning and spiritual growth in which we will surely be surprised by joy, and we will delight in the life we share at St. Mary’s.