- Parish news
The Rev. Patrick Ward called as Rector of Church of the Holy Spirit, Orleans
Dear Trinity Church and friends,
Grace and Peace this Sunday afternoon. With our morning worship now prayed, I hope this message finds you and yours well.
As the subject line anticipates, I write with word of the Rev. Patrick Ward’s call as the next rector of Church of the Holy Spirit, Orleans. Honoring Holy Spirit’s process, we share this announcement after their congregation confirmed Patrick’s call at a parish meeting just moments ago. Patrick is excited, and – of course! – we delight for him, for Holy Spirit, and for the whole mid-Cape community. Nonetheless, we will miss our colleague’s company at Trinity’s altar.
Patrick’s time at Trinity Church has been long and meaningful, both for him and for us as a church family. His tenure began in the 1990s, when he first arrived as an inquiring young adult; included our shared discernment of his call to ordained ministry and his commission to seminary in 2005; and continued when Patrick returned to Trinity as a priest in 2011. These many years as a lay leader and cleric have seen Patrick serve from one corner of our common life to another. Patrick has mentored acolytes and coordinated festival worship; steered our lifelong Christian Formation and supported the revival of our Creation Care ministries; nurtured our Outreach programming and launched a lay, Pastoral Visitor ministry; all while fostering more and deeper connections between our parish and our Diocese. With his prior experience in media adding color and accent all along the way, Patrick has shared in both the shaping of Trinity’s history during the last three decades, and in writing how we tell that rich story to ourselves, to one another, and to the world around us.
My experience with Patrick began over a basket of fried pickles at Doyle’s Café, his intuition about how I would appreciate both a classic Boston setting and its beer-battered fare earning my admiration straightaway. In the years since, we have walked (and Zoomed) through much! Along with parish leadership, we processed with Trinity into this pandemic, and our community benefited time and again from Patrick’s creativity, constancy, and wit. More recently, as we have labored to climb out of this virus, Patrick has offered a willing and generous hand to new members of our staff and congregation, sharing his wisdom and encouragement as we feel for sure footing in this new terrain we are still discovering. A very fine preacher, a committed pastor, and a loyal companion, I will miss him.
On Sunday, September 25, we will celebrate Patrick’s ministry at events to follow both our 10am and 5pm services. Do mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more details about these happy fêtes. In the meantime, let us enjoy Patrick as this new Program Year begins, celebrating what is ahead for him and for Church of the Holy Spirit, for us and for The Episcopal Church in Massachusetts.
With a grateful heart,
The Rev. Morgan S. Allen
Just after Easter 2020, still early in our COVID exile and near the end of a Zoom compline session, a parishioner asked me a question in passing. “Did the curly willow on the altar ever bloom?”
She caught me up short. If you’ve been with us for a while, you may recall that for some years during Lent we’ve adorned Trinity’s altar with curly willow branches. What appear to be dead sticks on Ash Wednesday take root in water as Lent progresses. Tender leaves push out, foreshadowing both Palm Sunday and the garden of the resurrection. “New life out of death” is the visual – and the business we are in as followers of Jesus. In response to her question, though, I had no answer in the moment. In that jittery pre-vax spring, we were living in absolute physical isolation from each other, from our sacraments, and from our church building.
In a recurring dream of mine that spring and summer, though, the branches did grow. Vines, in our longed-for return to church, had grown to cover altar and choir stalls and pews and lighting fixtures and even the exterior walls of our church and parish house. Cued by her question, perhaps by childhood memories of Sleeping Beauty and its surreal stasis (only branches grow as birds stop in midflight and in every castle hearth a fire freezes) this dream always involved some cohort of staff and parishioners beginning the work of clearing away. Bob with a rake. Morgan with hedge clippers. The Robert Treat Paine Society asking, with the merest hint of anxiety, how long the clearing away would take – so they could be ready to polish the brass for Easter. New life out of death, indeed.
Although it will take us years to understand fully the scale of its damage, COVID has also made us new – and as its restrictions have loosened in the last year, I have felt increasingly that both Trinity Church and my own call to ministry are suffused with new energies. With the support and wisdom of Morgan, my fiancé Roger, and other mentors, I’ve been in focused discernment that has led to a call that feels absolutely right to me: The Church of the Holy Spirit in Orleans, Massachusetts. As Morgan details in the letter above, I will end my active ministry with you at the end of September and begin to serve with this community, on the brink of the outer Cape and within our Diocese, in November. “CHS” was gathered in 1933 and in the decades since, its campus, like a New England farmhouse, has grown – based on expanding need – to accommodate feeding, assistance, learning and arts ministries. The CHS leaders with whom I have been discerning in these past months are people of deep faith, warm and unpretentious hospitality, good humor and disarming authenticity. Like you, they are committed to making God’s Kingdom believable through care for each other and ministry beyond their church walls.
I am both excited about this new call and blue at the thought of ending my eleven years here with you. I can’t begin to enumerate just now the reasons I will always be thankful for our parish, and why I will miss so many of you profoundly. At our best, we offer the reeling world around us a model of love, reverence, and hospitable beauty without sanctimony. Morgan’s conviction – that living together into a model of generous beloved community within our walls is essential sustenance to the work we do beyond our walls – is one I share, and the lay and ordained staff he has been recruiting in the last year are already valued colleagues whom I will miss as well. I envy you the chance you’ll have to know and serve with them, even as I come to know a new community in these months ahead.
Thank you for serving with me in these years. Thank you for your generosity, which makes shared life possible. Thank you for your faith, which has fed and supported my own. You will remain in my daily prayers, and I ask that you keep Roger and me and the Church of the Holy Spirit in yours.
Faithfully and fondly,