- Parish news
Celebrate the Ministries of Sarah Wilcox and the Rev. Rita Powell
It was announced to the parish community today via email that senior staff members Sarah Wilcox and Rita Powell have each shared news of their upcoming transitions - Sarah to retirement, and Rita to Harvard. At this news, our hearts are full! Full of gratitude for their ministries and grief for us, full of joy and hope for them and for these new seasons of their lives.
The full text of letters from the Rector and Senior Warden, Sarah, and Rita, are shared below.
May 17, 2019
Dear Trinity friends,
We are in a season of change and transition at Trinity, more so than we knew. And that fact of our life together inevitably triggers a blend of emotions, from sadness at what and whom we must learn to live without, and hope and joy at new beginnings and new journeys here and beyond our parish home.
It is with just this mix of emotions that we announce that two of our senior staff members are moving on to new exciting phases of their lives: Sarah Wilcox, our Senior Parish Administrator of 18 years, will retire July 3, and the Rev. Rita T. Powell, Associate Rector since 2013, will leave Trinity on June 30 to become the Episcopal Chaplain at Harvard University.
Sarah Wilcox has announced her plan to retire in a letter to you all shared below. This is wonderful news for Sarah and her husband Stephen, if bittersweet for the parish family she has served so well. We struggle to find the right and adequate words to thank Sarah for her many years of loving and helping to lead this parish.
Sarah's years of stellar and stalwart work for Trinity was a response to not one call, but several. First came her willingness to set aside her very good job in banking to join Sam Lloyd's first staff. Then came her openness, over the years, to taking on one new responsibility after another, a tribute to her remarkable capacities but also a great gift to the church, which got the work of several from one gifted soul. Most recent was her response to Sam's urging that she return to the staff to assist him in his re-engagement as our rector, and then her willingness to stay on-even as the lure of retirement grew-through Bill's years as interim and the first months of Morgan's tenure.
She has been such a faithful steward of this place and its people, from the care and revitalization of our glorious, historic building to the smallest detail of our parish finances. She brings steadfastness, sound judgment, and great ability to everything she takes on; it has never fallen to a rector or warden to wonder in these years: Is Sarah on top of this? And will she get it done? And now she has a new challenge - setting it all aside to fully live into her retirement years with Stephen. No one would for a minute begrudge them that joy!
Rita Powell, whose letter of farewell is also below, has been a passionate, creative force behind our youth program, liturgies and music, and a gifted preacher who so often delighted, moved, and provoked us. Called to Trinity as an innovator in service not only of our parish, but as a gift to our city and the Church, who will forget the giant Art of Hope street mural with the Virgin Mary and the word "love" to help us heal after the Marathon Bombings? Or the dramatic Good Friday stations of the cross acted out on Copley Square, or the candlelit choral compline services? Her love of our Anglican tradition, while also fiercely questioning the status quo, has inspired and challenged in equal measure.
She has been a champion of the full participation of youth in the life of the church, and has encouraged their growth and formation through trips to Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis for a national prayer vigil on the anniversary of the death of Michael Brown, and experience life in Christian community at Taizé, France. Her dedication to the choir, particularly the Choristers, has been infectious.
Rita joined the staff six years ago, young in years and wise in soul, bright, eager, and quick to laughter, drawing on an energy source all her own. While we will miss her here at Trinity, we recognize, too, the continuity of purpose as she now accepts this call to continue her innovation on behalf of the Church and greater Boston. We know what we are losing; they won't know what hit them! As Rita, Justin, Jackson, and Juliet, trade Copley for Harvard Square, they go with leagues of our love, the assurances of our prayer, and cheers of our encouragement.
Sarah's and Rita's transitions leave big and important shoes to fill--you can trust that we and your parish leadership are already at work to smooth this seam, and we will look forward to sharing those plans as they firm later this summer.
For now, our task is to celebrate what is, rather than to belabor what will be. In that grateful spirit, we hope you will join us on Sunday, June 23, following the 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. services, as we raise a glad strain during receptions for these remarkable leaders. They have served this parish so very well, and so deserve this moment of praise, gratitude, and farewell.
With gratitude and blessings,
Mark S. Morrow
May 17, 2019
Dear Trinity Parish,
I am writing to share news about my pending retirement on July 3rd. My plans to retire have been known by a few leaders for over one year. I will turn 65 in July and am looking forward to spending more time with my husband who is 75. For many years while I have been working, he has been valiantly fighting heart disease. He was blessed to receive a new heart one year ago and is doing very well. We now want to make the most of our good fortune.
I moved to Back Bay in 1980 from Connecticut and was invited by my best friend from college to join her at my neighborhood church. That visit “took” immediately. During the 1980’s I sang in the choir and was involved in outreach ministries. I was asked to serve on the vestry from 1990-1994. During those years I was also asked to serve on the search committee that led to calling Sam Lloyd. He in turn asked me to leave banking to oversee the administrative structure needed to help grow and strengthen the parish.
That invitation was life changing. I had been a commercial banker working with non-profits for 15 years. Although I was helping provide needed services to non-profit organizations, the call to serve Trinity was very compelling and proved to be very fulfilling. After serving as the Associate for Administration for 13 years, I returned to banking with non-profits as a senior vice president at Bank of America. Seven years later in 2014, I was asked to serve the parish again.
During my combined 18 years at Trinity I have had the great joy of working with many dedicated clergy and lay staff, excellent professionals in the legal, finance and building fields and many, many committed and talented lay leaders.
As has been the case for over 285 years, Trinity has been blessed with committed clergy, lay staff and parishioners. I fully believe the new Rector and team of leaders at Trinity will continue to serve the parish well with devotion and skill.
With very best wishes,
Sarah W. Wilcox
Senior Parish Administrator
May 17, 2019
Dear Trinity Parish,
I write to tell you that I have accepted the call to become the next Episcopal Chaplain at Harvard. I will begin that work on July 1, exactly six years after I began my service here at Trinity. This call is in response to a movement of the Holy Spirit I have felt for some time, calling me to explore evangelism and innovation in new ways. As chaplain, I will be working to build the church outside the church. I will be working with undergraduate and graduate students as they navigate their lives and faith as well as our church’s identity and being in the midst of a secular world.
In my time here, I have been privileged to work and pray and live with so many of you. Do you remember the Maundy Thursday dinner downstairs? Some of you cooked with me during the Supper of the Lamb Lenten program, or made Sacred Suppers in your own homes. How about the dramatic Good Friday service, the Taizé Pentecost? Or the Epiphany yoga series?
I have worked with many of you who are teenagers, many of you in the 20’s and 30’s group, many chorister and other youth parents. You have welcomed me into your homes and schlepped my kids around town as needed. I spent a magical two weeks with many of you in the choir and the companions on the England Tour. We’ve shared breakfasts at Barbara C. Harris camp and conference center, and an interfaith vigil on our front porch on Copley Square. I’ve had the chance to work with TBF to create yoga retreats for TEEP and Trinity youth, yoga for incarcerated youth, and learned from several years of Racial Equity Learning Community curriculum. And these memories just scratch the surface!
I am so deeply grateful to all of you for your love and support over these years. I have loved serving with you. I am excited about the next chapter and the challenges and opportunities it will bring. But I will never forget the candlelit hush that comes over a full Trinity, fragrant with evergreen garlands, as we wait for that lone chorister voice to soar out with “Once in Royal David’s City.” I will never forget the laughter and warmth of working with the ushers and acolytes, flower guild and altar guild, and choir to make our best liturgical offering to God over and over and over. You have been generous and gracious and patient with me, listening to sermons about, yes, politics, and pop culture and poetry and sports.
With your steadfast love and commitment to this parish community, its new Rector, clergy, and staff, I have deep faith that there is no limit to what Trinity can do towards building the Kingdom of God. Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for this chance to share in the sacred work of God with you! Please join me on my last Sunday, June 23, to say goodbye and to celebrate what we have shared.
With gratitude and love,
The Rev. Rita T. Powell