Ask Alban: The Spiritual Challenge of Clergy Transition

Q: I’m the spiritual formation intern at a medium-sized Episcopal church whose rector is about to retire. Do you have recommendations for what I can do to support the congregation as the rector prepares to leave? Most of the resources I know about seem to focus more on the practical and business aspects of this critical time rather than on what it means about relationship to God and each other.

A: Clergy help us to know the love and faithfulness of God. Through words and actions and the conduct of their lives, they teach us to trust (or sometimes, sadly, not to trust) God’s promises. Everything about our spiritual lives depends on whether we develop basic, fundamentally nonrational trust. Spiritual maturity is not belief that all will go well, but faith that, when things go badly, we can count on the companionship of God and that which is of God in others….

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