Another Goodbye: More Pastoral Changes

Saying “Good-Bye” Again….

Beloved in Christ,

This one is hard. It’s hard because I know how deeply it will affect many of you. And it’s hard because of how deeply it affects me, both personally and professionally, too.

Last Summer, we hired Joanna Thomas as our part-time “Interim Pastoral Associate.” Though her role was part-time, the impact she made went well beyond the hours she worked, and she often worked more than her allotted hours. Originally, Joanna’s commitment was through December 2019. Eventually, she committed to stay with us through Easter 2020, though I confess that I had secretly hoped Joanna would stay with us much longer.

In February, Joanna told me she felt God was calling her to ministry elsewhere. As hard as it was for me to hear, when we talked through her reasons, it became clear to me that her conviction was indeed from God. Our original plan was to keep her on staff through the spring to help onboard her replacements. However, because of recent events involving the COVID-19 outbreak, her time with us has ended sooner than expected, and she tendered her resignation effective March 19th.

It’d be hard for me to overestimate how sad I am to see Joanna go. I have relied on her in numerous ways as a partner in ministry, and her great strengths have often compensated for my many weaknesses. The dynamic year in ministry we’ve just completed would not have been possible without her, and I will remain, always, in her debt. Much more simply, I deeply admire and respect Joanna, and love her as a friend and a sister in Christ. I count myself lucky to have shared these early days in ministry here with her.

It is with great gratitude to God and to her that we wish her well on her journey ahead.

In Christ,

A few new additions to the team…

Because Joanna’s departure had been planned for some time now, we already have a transition plan in place. Later this spring, we will announce two full-time hires we have made that will cover many of the roles Joanna filled. At this time, we are also delaying the start date for those two hires because of safety concerns around COVID-19. In the meantime, however, we would like to announce at least part of our replacement plan for Joanna.

Many of you know Ariana Bellanton and Jordan Wesley, as they have already held leadership roles in our parish over the past few years–as members of the Vestry and other various committees. Recently, both have begun the process of discernment for ordination in the Episcopal Church (you may remember their contributions to the “Discerners” preaching series last summer). In order to help facilitate their discernment process, we’re bringing them into more active, visible leadership in the type of roles they would perform as deacons and priests in the church–including pastoral care, preaching, and leading worship. In this arrangement, you can think of us like a “training hospital,” and their roles here like their “residency,” as they train to become “curates” (literally, “curers” or “healers” of souls) in Christ’s church.

Brief bios of Ariana and Jordan can be found below. As sad as we are to lose Joanna, I am grateful that God has eased this transition by immediately supplying such capable and faithful leaders in her place.

Ariana Bellanton
Ariana Bellanton is currently discerning a call to the vocational diaconate. She is a member of the Vestry and has attended All Angels for four years. Ariana is also involved in Community Ministries and the Music Ministry at All Angels. Outside of church, she works in community development finance.

Jordan Wesley
Jordan Wesley has been a member of the All Angels community since 2011, and served on the Vestry from 2015-2019. She is also the head of our stewardship committee. Through weekly liturgy, house church, parish retreat dance parties and many tears of joy and sorrow, this sacred place has become her home away from her Texas family. She holds an MA in Christian Ministry and an MS in Social Work from Abilene Christian University and has worked for churches and youth development organizations over the past 12 years. Jordan is a wannabe yogi, a devoted herb gardener and a resident of Harlem.

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