In Fall 2014, while concurrently serving as Upper School Chaplain at Parish Episcopal School and Interim Rector at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Dallas, I was asked to consider applying to be rector at St. Martin-in-the-Fields. I prayed and discerned that the Holy Spirit was calling me to become the Third Rector of St. Martin’s.
Five Easters later, I have discerned that the Holy Spirit is calling me again, this time to The Episcopal Church of the Nativity in Scottsdale, Arizona. I will begin there in mid-August and so my last Sunday at St. Martin’s will be July 14, 2019. After the 10:30 service that day, we will have a chance to say goodbye to each other at a reception in the large parish hall.
- Your love of outreach to help others (which was the only common theme at all 19 zip-code parties).
- Continuing to practice “radical hospitality” which is exhibited by our banner, “God loves you. No exceptions. All are welcome.”
- Promoting St. Martin’s Episcopal School as a ministry of the church with its excellent reputation, small class size, and loving faculty and staff.
- Honoring the outstanding children and youth ministries of the church, especially on the first Sundays of the month in which children and youth read the lessons and prayers, sing songs, and stand behind the altar during the Eucharist, imitating the priest’s gestures of blessing the bread and wine.
I think we’d all agree that these four themes of ministry are what constitutes the “DNA” of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
It is because I have experienced all the ways you have lived these themes, especially the theme of “All are welcome,” that I feel safe to be fully transparent with you. As you read the announcement from the Church of the Nativity, you will see that I am moving there as their rector along with my husband, Dennis Combs. Some of you might have seen Dennis as a worshiper here on occasion. He and I have been married since 2011. While living in the Diocese of Dallas I did not feel comfortable or safe in being open about my personal life. Dennis and I made the decision to keep my professional life and our personal life completely separate, in large part because I did not want my being gay to become a barrier in my ministry for anyone. That difficult decision was a very deep one, which became a pattern that wasn’t easily altered until very recently. Please understand that my reluctance to be open with you was not out of fear that you would not accept me and my husband. My personal experience with this struggle illustrates how very important your ministry of welcome and inclusion is, in and to the world.
I encourage you to continue to focus on these themes. Continue to welcome the 10 to 12 visitors per month who come through the red doors of our church to find God in this part of north Tarrant County. You are doing a wonderful job of that already; and I also encourage you to make even deeper connections with our visitors and newcomers by welcoming and accompanying them on their new journey at St. Martin’s. No doubt St. Martin’s will continue to grow, not only because the church is located in this bustling and bursting Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, but also because of who you are – followers of our loving, liberating, and life-giving God.
I look forward to the next month as I get to thank so many of you for your kindness in allowing me to walk with you in Christ as we have sought to do God’s work together at St. Martin’s. Over the next few weeks, I will be preparing for the move, saying goodbye, and preparing to leave for Arizona. I ask for your prayers for Dennis and me as we make this transition. I also ask your prayers for our clergy and staff, as well as the Wardens and Vestry of St. Martin’s. I give thanks for each of you and will pray for you as you continue to do your ministry on these 12 acres “in the fields,” in Fort Worth and beyond.
God’s blessings and peace be with you all,
The Reverend Scot McComas
Third Rector, St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church