For most of one’s working life, retirement seems a very long way off. Then it comes a little closer, and then suddenly it rushes upon one. At least that is how it has seemed to me.
I will be leaving St Clement’s, Philadelphia, on August 31, just over eleven years after I came to preach on the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady at the invitation of Bishop and Vestry. And looking back, these eleven years have passed in a flash. I have recorded in this blog much of the joy I have had in the life and work of St Clement’s and my increasing pleasure in living in Philadelphia. Now I must leave them both.
The sadness of leaving will be mightily tempered by the Vestry’s inspired choice of my successor, Fr Rick Alton, whom I first got to know when he was Rector of St Mark’s, Locust St, in this same city. We became firm friends, and I am so happy that the Vestry’s choice fell upon him. I am sure that he will develop and expand the Catholic witness of St Clement’s within the Episcopal Church.
The sadness of leaving is also tempered, I have to admit, by the fact that I intend to continue to make my home in Philadelphia. But first I intend to take a long break and make myself scarce. However friendly one may be, it is a very good convention that a new Rector (or a new Bishop, for that matter) should not have his predecessor hanging around. So in September I am off to the UK to spend some time seeing many old friends.