Dear Friends in Christ,
I am announcing wonderful news that confirms for me again my own conviction that ‘God will provide.’ In these past weeks, I began a process to see who might be called to St. Mary’s to lead our youth ministry. Over the past several weeks, members of our church staff, our Senior Warden Tracey Ragsdale, members of the Youth Ministries Committee, and I met with a wonderful young woman named Emily Bruch. In between meetings with her, there was plenty of time to listen if there was a call from God for Emily to come join us here at St. Mary’s. I believe that when God calls a person, that call needs to be affirmed both in the community that is calling, and with the individual to be called. I am happy to say that there is a joyful consensus among those of us who met with Emily that she is called to be with us as our Director of Youth Ministries. And I am just as happy to say that Emily feels clearly and strongly that God is calling her to come be with us at St. Mary’s.
Emily is a graduate of Douglas Freeman High School, class of 2012; so, this will be a homecoming for her! She graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 2016 after earning her BA in Religious Studies. After graduating, Emily was called to serve at Eastern Shore Chapel Episcopal Church in Virginia Beach in the Diocese of Southern Virginia as their Director of Youth and Family Ministry. This new call for Emily will answer both a desire to come home and to focus exclusively on youth ministries. Emily grew up as an active participant in the Diocese of Virginia including being involved in Shrine Mont Summer Camps as Chaplain, Program Director, and Camp Counselor. Also, Emily was an adult and youth leader with our diocesan Parish Youth Ministry program.
I experienced Emily in our interviews as deeply grounded in prayer and a living faith. She has – among many other gifts – a quiet clarity of mind and a deeply soul-full presence. She is centered, strong, and has (in her words) a ‘goofy’ kind of personality! I find Emily to be comfortable in her own spirit which is a gift that provides room for others to be accepted and comfortable in their own spirits.
We will properly welcome Emily with a commissioning for her in this new ministry on Sunday, January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, at the 11 a.m. service. Her first official day will be Tuesday, January 2. But she hopes to be with us for a Christmas Eve service!
I am so grateful for all of those who were a part of this discernment process who exhibited the very best of our St. Mary’s Church family. I felt, clearly, that God’s hands were on this from the beginning to the end. I hope you will begin pray for Emily, our young people, their families, and for this new beginning we are making together by the grace of God.
Your brother in Christ,
David H. May, Rector