Thursday, November 29, 2012

Moving on from the Cathedral to a New Parish

It is official.  After serving as the Canon for Parish Ministry at St. Andrew's Cathedral for almost seven years, I have accepted the call to serve as the sixth rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  The discernment with this parish started back in late July.  With each successive step, it's had a Spirit-filled feel to it. It was a powerful journey with an extraordinary search committee.  I am fortunate to have been a part of it.

Here is the letter I sent out to the members of St. Andrew's Cathedral:



Dear Friends in Christ,

It’s hard to believe that this coming January will mark the 7th anniversary of my time among you as the Canon for Parish Ministry. And what a wonderful journey it has been! Together we have experienced renewed vitality and vision. We have joined our hearts and voices in beautiful worship. We have served as the hands and feet of Jesus among the needy in the community. We have shared joys and sorrows, laughter and tears, hopes and dreams. And we have been a family in Christ that cares for one another while welcoming anyone who seeks the love and grace of God.

When I think about how much all of that means, I find myself filled with mixed feelings. For I write to let you know that the time has now come for me and the family to move on to the next chapter of our lives in Christ. I have accepted the call to serve as rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge. It is an exciting opportunity to serve in a wonderful parish. But after being among you for so long, this is also a bittersweet time for the Owen family. St. Andrew’s Cathedral and Jackson have become home to us. And Lord knows, we love the Diocese of Mississippi! And so, in the midst of the excitement, the thought of moving fills us with sadness. You are our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. And you have touched our lives in so many wonderful ways.

My last Sunday at the Cathedral will be December 16 (Advent 3). We hope to make the move to Baton Rouge later that week. The need to get Mary Emerson and Hobson situated and prepared to enter new schools makes such a quick transition necessary. It promises to be a whirlwind of activity and an emotional roller coaster. I ask your prayers for me and for Julie, Mary Emerson, and Hobson as we live into this time of transition. And know that you shall remain in our prayers as well.

It has been a privilege to serve as a priest among you at St. Andrew’s Cathedral. We shall always consider this sacred place as one of our homes.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

It's an exciting timeI ask your prayers for me and for my family, for St. Andrew's Cathedral, and for St. Luke's Episcopal Church and Day School.

16 comments:

Douglas LeBlanc said...

As one who learned the reverence of God by serving as an acolyte at St. Luke's, I rejoice for the parish and for the Owen family.

Bryan Owen said...

Thank you, Douglas. That's awesome that you served as an acolyte at St. Luke's! Please do look me up if you're in Baton Rouge!

The Rev. Stan Runnels--Rector said...

Congratulations!

Diana O'Toole said...

While I "accept" this new call for you and your family...that doesn't mean that I have to "like" it! Bryan, you have meant the world to me and my family during some of the toughtest times that I have had to date. No matter where you go, you will always have a special place in my heart! God's speed, my dear friend!

lisa flury thompson said...

Fr Bryan, we cannot wait for you and Julie to arrive. This will be the best Christmas present ever at the end of a beautiful journey. God is good, all the time! Can't wait to meet your precious children.

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks, Stan. I've missed you in Mississippi, and I'll miss you in Louisiana!

Bryan Owen said...

Thank you, Lisa. Julie, the kids, and I are thrilled to be joining you all. It's going to be an awesome new beginning for St. Luke's!

Bryan Owen said...

Thank you, Diana. You are one of the reasons why leaving is hard! You are near and dear to my heart and always will be. I cannot begin to describe the many ways that you have blessed my life. I hope and pray that we stay in touch, and I give thanks to God that in Christ we are all connected as part of the communion of saints!

Suzanne Daniel said...

Cheers on your new call! I wish peace in spite of the chaos of a move/resettling with your family. I hope you will have at least one visit back in MS in July...

Suzanne

David D. Nowell, Ph.D. said...

Congratulations and good luck!

Bryan Owen said...

Thank you, Suzanne. One of the many things I'm going to need to let go of is the MS Conference on Church Music & Liturgy. I will dearly miss you all. My times at that conference have been very special. I wish you well in your music ministry!

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks so much, David. If you're ever down in Cajun country, look me up. I'll buy you Po' boy and an Abita!

The Underground Pewster said...

So glad to hear that you are moving to a place where stately oaks and broad magnolias shade inspiring halls. Now, will you ever learn how to spell "Geaux Tigers"?

Bryan Owen said...

Thanks, Underground Pewster. I'm very excited about St. Luke's and Baton Rouge. And yes, I've been practicing "Geaux Tigers"!

danielhixon said...

Fr. Bryan,
Congratulations! I've been enjoying your blog the last few months and am excited to see you'll be coming over to our state (I am serving a parish in central La). I lived in BR for a while and have visited St. Lukes a few times (even for an Easter Vigil one year). My wife and I were married at St. Albans Church on LSU's campus and I have a fond affinity for that church (when I was in college our pastor at St. Albans, Fr. Patrick Smith, came over from St. Lukes). Their current pastor, Fr. Drew, is also great.

Baton Rouge is one of my favorite cities in the world with such rich textures and so many things to do, GREAT places to eat, and such good people. The traffic is, however, most horrible so I hope your commute isn't too long. If you need any recommendations on good coffee shops, book shops, local hiking, or food just say so...

May God bless your transition

Bryan Owen said...

Thank you, Daniel! I would, indeed, be most receptive to your recommendations on good places in Baton Rouge. Feel free to drop me an email here.