After nearly 13 years as the Rector of the Church of the Ascension, the time has come for me to announce my retirement, which will occur in the late spring or early summer of this year. It has been a great honor, privilege and joy to serve in this wonderful parish family and we have accomplished many excellent things during our time together. The exact date of my official departure is not yet determined, since Lynda and I do not know exactly when we will be able to relocate to our retirement home on the West Coast where we plan to live.
We have been accepted as members of an intentional, inter-faith community called Pilgrim Place in Claremont, California. This unique retirement community was established in the early 1900s for those who have had careers as full-time religious workers from many Christian denominations and other faith traditions. When we are offered a suitable house or apartment as our residence, we will join this exciting and active community of former pastors, teachers, seminary deans, missionaries and their spouses and partners. Our new home will also be close to family, since our son, daughter-in-law and grandson live in nearby Irvine, California.
The decision to retire from active ministry is one of those big milestones in my life and I appreciate how it also affects the life of Ascension. I know from my own experience that at times such as this the Lord provides special blessings to enable us to navigate successfully the challenges that face us. I believe that in the months ahead, we will come to know the grace of one of God’s greatest blessings, the gift of gratitude, in powerful new ways. Already, I feel as if this latter phase of my priestly ministry has become a re-enactment of the first miracle that Jesus performed at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. It is as if the Steward of the wedding feast is saying about our time together, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” This is how our Lord has blessed us here at Ascension! These years with all of you have been like the sweetest and finest wine that anyone could ever desire. Thank you for everything and may God bless you richly in the years to come.
The Rev. Andrew W. Foster, III