Today, I sent a letter to my congregation, updating them on how I'm doing. I'm posting it here for those of you who are interested.
Dear Church of the Redeemer,
Grace and peace to you.
I’m writing today to check in, and to let you know how much I look forward to seeing you again. I’m sure it came as a surprise to most of you when, on May 10th, you were informed that I was taking a leave of absence.
The months of March and April were very hard for me, and came on the heels of a difficult year. In those last few days of April, and in the first week of May, it became quite clear to me that I could not go on with business as usual.
During this time away, I have begun to see myself from a different perspective. With the help of some close companions, I am allowing the Lord to work on deep things in me. It has been hard time, for many reasons. But it has been a good time, and I am seeing the Lord’s hand at work. He is always faithful.
His work in me is not done. I expect it will go on for many more months and years, even the rest of my life. I will not return to you the same man; but, I will return in the near future. The exact timing is up to our spiritual authority, Archbishop Duncan, in consultation with the Elders and the clergy-care specialist with whom I’ve been working. I’m writing this to you today with their authorization.
I have missed you all, as individuals, families, and as a community. I have prayed for you daily. I am deeply grateful for the grace extended to me by Archbishop Duncan and Canon Hays, Abbie Hudgens and all the Elders, Fr. Kenny Benge, and the staff of Church of the Redeemer. I am thankful for the comfort offered by my closest friends and family, and especially by my amazing wife, Laura. And I am grateful to all of you who have written cards, letters, e-mails, texts, etc. wishing me well and reminding me of your prayers. These have been a source of hope in some dark hours.
While the specific date of my return has not yet been set, please know that I am looking forward to resuming my role as your pastor. For those of you who have been hurt by my departure in any way, I am truly sorry. I ask for everyone’s continued prayers for me and for my family. We are still going through our own struggles, and need the Lord’s daily intervention.
May Christ’s Peace be multiplied to you,
The Reverend Thomas McKenzie