St. Matthew's Episcopal Church Maple Glen, Pennsylvania

Message from our Associate Rector Jay Walton

Merriam-Webster defines transition as “a movement, development, or evolution from one form, stage, or style to another.” St. Matthew’s is currently undergoing a major transition. Our previous rector retired after 34 years of ministry, a new rector began his term here on July 21st, and shortly, a third transition will take place. Approximately, three years ago, Fr. Dave and I began a discussion about his future. The discussion included his retirement and what that would mean for my future. At the time, the choices were for me to stay on as his associate or to leave. It was our understanding that if I wished to become St. Matthew’s next rector, I had to have a break from this parish. After much prayer, discussion and discernment, I made the choice to stay at St. Matthew’s. I realized that there was still much that I could learn as Dave’s associate and that the work I was doing here was important work for the youth and adults. I understood that the decision would ultimately mean that I would be leaving the parish where I began my ordained ministry and moving on, knowing that the Holy Spirit would provide St. Matthew’s with the leadership necessary after our departures. The Holy Spirit has provided that leadership in Fr. Peter Stube. In my time working with him, I have come to know a man that is deeply spiritual, welcoming and open to the Holy Spirit and her guidance. Peter understands leadership not as a singular but rather as a group process where many people play a part.

Since Dave has retired, many parishioners express dismay over church polity and the policy of not allowing an associate to become the next rector. I have heard parishioners say, why can’t you just assume the position? And isn’t it unfair that you must leave the church as well? All the questions are valid questions and things that have been deeply thought and prayed on. Ultimately, the decision has been made and one that we all must come to terms with. Sometime, and as of writing this, I don’t know when, I will be leaving St. Matthew’s in order to continue the ministry that I feel called to. I have been the associate at St. Matthew’s since July 2014 and have felt loved by this parish. I will miss the parishioners, teachers, nursery school students and will hold you close to my heart in prayer. I am the priest I am today as a result of this parish. When I do accept a new call, I will leave here knowing that St. Matthew’s will always be with me no matter where I am.

St. Matthew’s must continue to watch for the Holy Spirit’s direction. We will begin a new program year on September 8th. It is a new year and a new beginning. Some things will change and some things will stay the same. Whether the priests of this are the same or different, the same God, the same Jesus Christ, and the same Holy Spirit will be who we worship and glorify through our worship and outreach. We are human priests called to lead, but the real and unchanging power and blessings come from above. May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be among us and remain with St. Matthew’s always.

In Christ,
Fr. Jay✝