As most of you know my last Sunday at St. John the Divine will be July 3rd with my new call as Bishop Coadjutor-Elect beginning in Florida on August 1.
Please know what a tremendous joy it has been to serve this great congregation for the last 4 years. Yours is a church community filled with a vast wealth of mature strong Christians who desire to learn and grow deep in faith. St. John the Divine has a teachable spirit—a priest’s blessing. My encouragement to you all is to go deeper in your learning of the Bible, deeper in your love for God in your missionary service in this community. I would like to underscore some important work that we have done together with a challenge to persevere in it.
The most amazing missionary works that the Holy Spirit is doing through SJD is the English as a Second Language program. With 150 students, speaking over 30 languages and representing over 40 countries, this is the most significant opportunity to make disciples of all nations and fulfill the great commission, I have ever seen in my entire 25 years of ministry. I pray the church will continue to invest and build on this ministry of evangelism.
As a community of hospitality, you have excelled in opening your homes and lives to host small groups for Bible studies. Transformation takes place in the context of small groups; here we build pastoral relationships, pray together, support each other, learn the Bible together, and invest in one another. I truly believe that almost every single member of SJD is qualified to not only be in a small group but to host a small group. You all have an amazing combination of loving fellowship and strong leadership. I hope you will continue to strengthen this ministry of discipleship.
Lastly, I’ve been so impressed by the deep bench of lay teachers and faculty at SJD. This congregation has so many lay teachers who have a depth of understanding of scripture and the capacity to communicate that faith that exceeds many trained priests I know! Continue to raise up the next generations of teachers from among the fellowship.
God has poured out incredible gifts in this community of believers, encourage one another when you see them manifest in their use. I pray that your tribes of teachers, disciple-makers, and evangelists will increase.
Join us this Sunday, July 3 to celebrate the Rev. Charlie Holt and his family! Charlie will be preaching at the 8 am service in the chapel and the 9 am and 11:15 am services in the church. There will be a celebratory taco brunch in Sumners Hall following the 9 am service. If you would like to contribute to a financial gift or "purse" as an expression of your gratitude for Charlie's ministry at SJD, you may make your offering in care of St. John the Divine and earmarked “Charlie Holt Purse” or online here. This gift will be presented on July 3.