September 27, 2021

Dear ECOT Parish Family and many friends,

I write to share timely updates about the next month and the road ahead for our beloved ECOT.  Following a chockablock spring and summer as well as a non-stop pace these past many years, I need to step away for a brief pre-sabbatical leave.  Our Vestry, Transfiguration’s Board, generously provided me this option over two years ago but I have pushed back this leave as we were in no position for me to go during the daily demands of the pandemic.  Mother Emily and I had hoped her discernment of leading another Episcopal church would not require her departure so close to my time away, but that could be predicted or influenced, while my plans must be fixed in a tight window of time.  So, today I begin a 5 week pre-sabbatical leave away from you, returning to you on All Saints Day, Sunday, November 7th.  Sabbatical time differs from normal vacation in that my collar comes off and I relinquish all pastoral responsibilities save under the gravest of emergent circumstances. Hence, my email and cell phone will not be receiving regular communication.  In my absence, our wonderful Senior Warden Jayme Rinn exercises ecclesiastical authority if any issues of governance arise which cannot wait until my return.  Please help Jayme in not finding any!!  Our veteran Parish Administrator Margie Ciaccio will ensure proper operational functioning of our Parish Office and hosting weekly staff meetings.  Our Pastoral Care Minister Chaplain Denise Delaney will be leading regular pastoral support, bolstered by our colleagues and good friends Pastor Scott Beebe of Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Pastor Tim Wilbanks of Covenant Presbyterian should Chaplain Denise require ordained assistance.  Deacon Mike Williams and Kathy will also be travelling so Mike will return to worship on October 24th.  While I am away, we are very privileged to welcome Pastor Carl Walker, retired Pastor of Mount of the Holy Cross Lutheran Church, as our Sunday worship leader for October!  You are in for a wonderful month with Carl, and also Denise who will cover a Sunday worship!

In addition, please note we are temporarily suspending our Vail Interfaith Chapel 8:00 AM Sunday worship for these same 5 October Sundays.  The Vail Chapel parking lot is under heavy construction to complete our snowmelt system and parking is not available  for the month.  Please, please come down to the Edwards Interfaith Chapel (your mobile device’s GPS knows how to find it, I promise!) for Sunday 10 AM worship while I am away, and we’ll return to the Vail Chapel hopefully upon my return.  If weather is inclement, I appreciate you continuing to mask and distance indoors to protect our church and community.

Pledge Chair J.P. Power will be leading a robust 2022 Pledge Drive during October culminating on Pledge Sunday, November 7th as I return.  Thank you in advance for your generosity in supporting ECOT for the significant year ahead!  Please bring that pledge card to church on November 7th, and I will too!

My plans for November and December are simple:  Encourage a successful 2022 Pledge Drive, dedicate significant time to searching for and seating a new youth minister before Christmas, and preparing to launch into a new Christian year and sustainable Christmas.  Unfortunately, the shortage of available priests and our proximity to the holidays means we will not enjoy an assisting priest until sometime in the new year.  I plan to search for and call a graduating seminarian in mid-May 2022 to join us as a curate, a new priest, and keep them for awhile.  If an acceptable interim associate cleric becomes available before that time for the winter and spring, we’ll work to seat them.  In any event, God has always provisioned this congregation in abundant ways, and will not stop now.  You are important to your fellow ECOT members, to our valley, to our Episcopal Church family throughout Colorado, and especially to me!  Transfiguration’s best days lay ahead of her!

Thank you for this profound gift of sabbatical time away from unrelenting daily demands.  It is a gift and a blessing to me.  I look forward to returning (and I will return!) to you refreshed and revivified on Sunday, November 7th.  May the Peace of our Lord be always with you!

Warmly in the Lord,

Father Brooks Keith, Rector