September 23, 2016
Dear Members and Friends of Holy Trinity Church Inwood,
By now, many of you will have heard the news that last Sunday the Vestry of Holy Trinity Church voted to apply to the Bishop of New York to become a mission congregation. The resolution has been certified by our clerk, Abigail Snow, and forwarded to the Rt. Rev. Andrew Dietsche.
This was an historic and courageous decision. It was historic because I believe this is the most significant decision to be made in the life of this parish since moving to Inwood from Harlem in 1927. It was courageous because becoming a mission means surrendering title to the property on which the church now sits to the Trustees of the Diocese of New York and trusting the wider church to have our back and our best interests at heart.
The decision was not unanimous and both sides argued their points of view with passion and conviction. As is our custom here at Holy Trinity, this was an open meeting, and members of the congregation were also allowed to speak.
I am sure many of you are wondering what happens next. In the short term, the answer is, very little will change. We will continue to worship together at 10:30 on Sunday mornings in our sanctuary. The garden will continue to bloom. The children of the Pied Piper Children’s Theater will continue to rehearse Much Ado About Nothing which goes up the weekends of November 4-6 and November 11-13.
What’s changed is that Holy Trinity now has a new lease on life. The Congregational Support Plan, which has paid for you to have a resident vicar here for the past 20 years, ends at the end of this year, but by becoming a mission your vestry has ensured that you will continue to have the care and leadership of a full-time priest whose salary is paid for by the diocese.
Many of you have asked if I will stay. I am happy to tell you that I am speaking right now to the diocese about staying on so that I can help you move into the next phase of your life as a congregation. It is my hope and desire to stay with you for at least five more years while we do the very important work of renewing this church.
I know you have many more questions. Will the land be sold? Will the buildings be torn down? Will we have to move? Will we become a self-supporting congregation again? These are questions we will answer together with the bishop and the trustees in the coming months and years. It will take some courage and faith to get through this together, but I am confident that we can and that we will.
I encourage you to pray for Holy Trinity Church. I encourage you to think of ways that you can get involved. Can you help with child care, neighborhood outreach, youth ministry, teaching, coffee hour, communications, fundraising, or evangelism? There is going to be a lot of work to be done. And, as always, if you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me and we can set up some time to talk.
Faithfully yours in Christ,