Effective June 23, 2021 I will no longer be your Pastor and the Vicar of the Beckley Vicariate. I have asked for and been granted a sabbatical at my expense to do more spiritual reading, have more time to pray, and be able to write as I seek to discover what God has in mind for me in the remaining years of my life.
I have been thinking and praying about this for a long time. After 35 years as a Pastor, I am weary of the administration, management, responsibilities, worries, complaints, and meetings. I just want to be able to be a priest and not have to deal with everything that comes with being a pastor.
In the late second century Saint Irenaeus declared, “The glory of God is man [or woman] fully alive.” To be honest, I don’t and haven’t felt that way in some time. I was scheduled to leave last summer, but it didn’t seem right in light of the pandemic. I feel more confident than ever that God is calling me to something different.
Father Leonard Smith has been assigned to be your new Pastor. He was one of my successors in another assignment and is a good shepherd. He will be a blessing to you. I pray you will encourage and support him as your new Pastor.
I have been blessed with a supportive staff and parishioners. When I first came here six years ago, I said that I was only passing through here. My time turned out not to be as long I we both thought. You continue to be in my prayers. I will be working part-time at a large parish in North Carolina and writing a book. In your kindness, please keep me in your prayer.
Saint Francis de Sales wrote these encouraging words. “Walk very simply along the way our Lord shows you and don’t worry.”
Yours in Christ,