Sunday, February 18, 2007

Moving 3,900 miles East

From: Birmingham, England

It is Sunday morning and I am just coming out of what has been a tunnel of total exhaustion. Four heavy weeks of ministry followed by a transatlantic flight, followed by a long an grueling selection process, followed by a several hour drive through the Friday evening rush hour traffic across the middle of England, and yesterday I was dead meat for much of the day -- wondering what on earth I had done and what on earth God had in mind for us.

All this is prefatory to say that on Friday evening I was offered the position of Development Director at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and accepted. Ridley is the evangelical Anglican theological college that is situated there, and is expanding in a variety of ways to become a major center in the life of the Church of England -- and beyond (www.ridley.cam.ac.uk). I suspect that given these crisis of Anglicanism in North America, it is well positioned to play a role on the western side of the Atlantic as well.

There are some huge challenges ahead because although Job One is to raise five million pounds in the next several years for desperately needed accommodations and teaching facilities, there is strategic planning to do, pastoring to undertake, and we are having significant conversations that relate to the area of stewardship -- something that concerns the Archbishop of Canterbury, so that he has been eager to see me at Ridley.

There are obviously more details to get sorted out than I can shake a stick at, but right now I am enjoying a couple of days with our daughter Olivia, son-in-law Joe, and our granddaughter, Hannah, in Birmingham, before catching a morning flight back to the USA tomorrow from Gatwick so I can celebrate Shrove Tuesday and then the solemnity of Ash Wednesday with my congregation. There is that sense of anticipation about what lies ahead, as well as the beginnings of grieving as we prepare to say goodbye to our home and so many friends in Tennessee where we have now lived for nearly 22 years, with 31 in total in the United States.

However, there is a real sense that God's hand has been upon us. As I look back over decisions we have made during the last couple of years I am now able to see how they have all fitted together into the remarkable pattern that God weaves in our lives. I have that sense that the Lord Jesus is calling Rosemary and myself back not only for the benefit of ourselves and our kith and kin, but also because we have a part that we can play at this crucial moment in preparing the next generation of leaders for the challenges of ministry in Great Britain in coming days -- and the challenges here are truly enormous.

We would value your continuing prayers, and as we eventually get ourselves settled in the Cambridge area you can be assured that there will be a warm welcome for you -- about half the congregation at the Church of the Resurrection, where I am interim rector, have promised that at some point they will appear on our doorstep.

My promise is this -- you have certainly not seen the last of me in North America. I leave a daughter on those shores so regular visits will be part of our life, plus the fact that we want to see Ridley playing a part on the reshaping of the American church in years ahead. I am actually now the third American citizen who is part of the "permanent" Ridley community, and there are several American students.

Some will, no doubt, identify this as me leaving the Episcopal Church. Nothing could be further from the truth. I will remain a priest in good standing of the Diocese of Tennessee, and am doing what I have done before, and that is transfer my ministry from one province of the Anglican Communion to another.

Meanwhile, the Daily Devotions will keep on coming, Toward2015@listserv.episcopalian.org will keep on trucking, and the Kew Continuum will still be found at http://richardkew.blogspot.com.

4 comments:

captainyips said...

Congratulations, and blessings on this new and formidable work.

Richard Kew said...

Thank you

Jimmy said...

Wishing you happiness and fulfillment in your new post back in your beloved England. I have been enjoying the Continuum since about mid-2006 and am glad you will continue your online ministry.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Richard. Your skills and gifts will serve you well. May our Lord continue to bless you and Rosemary in the days ahead.

Doc