With a mixture of sadness and joy, the parish said farewell and Godspeed to the Revs. Vicki Hesse and Greg Foraker, who have both accepted new calls. Greg will be Associate Rector for Ministry Development and Vocational Discernment at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Fort Collins, Colorado (read more here), and Vicki will be Associate for Parish Life and Christian Formation at Christ Church, Grosse Pointe, Michigan (read more here).
A big potluck dinner party was held on Friday, September 25, in the Murphey Gallery. Good food and good cheer abounded, mingled with laughter and tears. A letter was read from Senior Warden Alison Lee, and speeches of gratitude were made by St. Philippians and by ecumenical friends. The Chalice Players presented an especially creative song specially written for Greg and Vicki, and the two priests concluded the evening with “the last letter of Greg and Vicki to the St. Philippians.”
On Sunday, September 27, Greg and Vicki preached their final sermons at St. Philip’s. Greg used the metaphor of the Camino, and concluded with a wish for us all, “Buen Camino!” Vicki took her text from Ira Byock’s “The Four Things That Matter Most” — “Please forgive me … I forgive you … thank you …. I love you.”
Cake was served in the Perry Garden between services.
Each service concluded with a blessing for the departing priests, with the laying on of hands by clergy and staff.
Rector: Gracious God, we thank you for raising up among us faithful servants of your Word and Sacraments. We thank you especially for the work of your servants Greg and Vicki among us and praise you for the unique ways that they have touched each of our lives. Now bless and preserve them at this time of transition. Guide them in the continued use of your gifts. Give them sustenance for temporal and spiritual needs, friends to cheer their way, and a clear vision of the ministry to which you are now calling them. By your Holy Spirit be present in their pilgrimages, that they may travel with the One who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Congregation: Be with those who leave and with us who stay; and may the Lord watch between us while we are absent one from another. Amen.