Amidst much celebration for his ministry and service, the Rev. James Reynolds, rector of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church in Keller, TX, retired on June 9, 2013.
There was a procession with incense and banners and torches and crosses through the garden and into the packed church. Bishop High was present with the parish in this time of transition. In his homily, Bishop High recalled the post-communion prayer at a priest’s ordination, “We thank you for raising up among us faithful servants for the ministry of your Word and Sacraments. We pray that Jim may be to us an effective example in word and action, in love and patience, and in holiness of life.” He praised Fr. Jim for a job well done, and closed his homily with, “We celebrate the love and faithful service of Jim Reynolds at this congregation.”
For the first time in the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, there was a formal part of the service “The Ending of a Pastoral Relationship. ” Fr. Jim expressed that his tenure as rector ended. The congregation accepted the conclusion of his pastoral relationship. Fr. Jim tendered his letter of resignation, thus ending his pastoral relationship with the parish, and returned his keys to the parish buildings. The Senior Warden Bob Bess received his letter and will hold the keys in trust until a new rector begins his or her pastoral relationship with the parish. The congregation prayed together,
O God, you have bound us together for a time as priest and people to work for the advancement of your kingdom in this place: we give you humble and hearty thanks for the ministry which we have shared in these years now past.
We thank you for your patience with us despite our blindness and slowness of heart. We thank you for your forgiveness and mercy in the face of our many failures.
Especially we thank you for your never-failing presence with us through these years, and for the deeper knowledge of you and each other which we have attained.
We thank you for those who have been joined to this part of Christ’s family through baptism. We thank you for opening our hearts and minds again and again to your Word, and for feeding us abundantly with the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of your Son.
Now, we pray, be with those who leave and with us who stay, and grant that all of us, by drawing ever nearer to you, may always be close to each other in the communion of your saints. All this we ask for the sake of Jesus Christ, your Son, our Lord. Amen.
There were several light moments in the day; the first was the “goofy photograph” that the acolytes always enjoy taking. The number of people answering the invitation to receive blessings for birthdays and wedding anniversaries had some in the congregation thinking “flash mob,” and the choir surprised Fr Jim with the spiritual “Dem Bones,” sung with extra gusto. The celebratory brunch was indeed a feast, with many heartfelt remarks. Not to be outdone by the choir, and wanting to have the last word, the teenagers of the congregation shrink wrapped Fr Jim’s truck, including their best wishes for his retirement.
View even more photos in a Flickr photoset.