I am filled with gratitude and appreciation for all of you as I announce my retirement at the end of this year.
I have long followed the advice of a wise bishop who once told me that a sure way to discern God's call is to "follow the energy." It was that energy that I felt in 2006, when the founders of The Beatitudes Society, Michael and Frannie Hall Kieschnick, asked me to become the Executive Director. I now feel that energy calling me away. It's time for a new chapter in my own life and vocation.
As I look back on the past eight years, I am proud of the organization that we have been building-with your help and support-from the early days of seminary Campus Chapters and Summer Fellowships to our new leadership development program, the Beatitudes Fellowship. Nothing inspires me more than seeing our Fellows step into the pulpit or up to the TV camera with courage, clarity and integrity to speak the truth about the most challenging issues of our day.
Many colleagues all across the country have been part of this work, and I am honored to have met and collaborated with such committed faith leaders. We have been "plotting goodness," as Brian McLaren says. From the start, it has been our goal to identify and equip young faith leaders who will be champions in the public square for justice, inclusion, compassion and peace, and it has been a blessing to cooperate in this work with these colleagues. At the heart of our collaborations have been those words from Parker Palmer: "we're all in this together."
These eight years have been a blessing to me in more ways that I can count, and it is my hope that the blessing continues for future young clergy who dare to lead in the spirit of the Beatitudes.
It is the next generation and their commitment to justice that has inspired me and fueled my own commitment for this work. When I left my parish 8 years ago for The Beatitudes Society, the deciding factor for me was my son Ben who said, "Mom, you can't opt for the comfort of your great job at Trinity. Our country needs help. Get on out there." And now, my son has a new baby son, and I want be fully present as grandmother to Diego Tomás, and to whatever next adventure God has in store for me.
Thank you for being with me in the adventure of The Beatitudes Society. Please keep the board of The Beatitudes Society in your prayers as they lead this time of transition and search for a new Executive Director. Thank you for your continued investment in the future.
We're all in this together,
The Reverend Anne Howard