|December 5, 2017
Dear Friends in West Tennessee,
Over the past few years, I have loved walking with you and your congregations as we have lived into the vision of our Bishop to create new ministries and find new ways to connect to the communities where our churches are located. You have invited me into your pulpits and your homes, into your congregations to teach workshops and lead retreats. More to the point you have invited me to be a part of your faith communities and your lives, and for this I am grateful.
I hope that your ministries have been enriched and you have learned something meaningful from our work together and with the Diocese in partnership with the Kaleidoscope Institute. Know that I have learned more than I could have ever imagined from each of you, especially through your willingness to risk and be bold in the proclamation of the Gospel and in how we seek truth in our communities and engage the world. You have helped me grow in my vocation as a priest and I am grateful for what I have learned from you. Our time together will shape my ministry in the years to come.
As our work together has deepened, I have discovered an eagerness to return to parish ministry. Recently, the Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama called me to be their fourth rector, and I am grateful and excited to accept this call. It is a place that is deeply committed to outreach, spiritual formation for people of every age, and a liturgy that recognizes the diversity of the Church while making sure everyone is welcome. Our work together has prepared me well for my new challenges at St. Stephen’s.
In January, we will celebrate the work in developing sustainable ministries using the Kaleidoscope Institute processes over the last three years. We have done beautiful work together, including most recently, visioning a resurrected college ministry underwritten with a $1 million investment from Church Home. Bishop Johnson and others are already working to make sure this project has the right people in place to effectively move this vision forward.
My last day in the diocesan office will be January 5, 2018. My first Sunday at Stephen’s will be January 21, 2018. The plan is for Anne, Jack, and Bailey to move fulltime to Birmingham at the end of the school year. I ask your prayers during this time of transition in my life and the life of my family. Know that I will also keep you in my prayers
The Rev. Cn. John B. Burruss
Canon for Sustainable Ministries