Dear Ascension family,
Thank you for your prayers, love, kindness, and many coffee meetings over the last nine months. We are excited to announce that on June 4th, Pentecost Sunday, I’ll be ordained to the priesthood! Ashley and I have been on a journey over the last ten years that started in a small Bible Church in Northern California and has careened its way through Chicago and Dallas and has found its end in a beautiful Anglican community in Northern Virginia.
Journeying to the Diaconate
A few years ago, Restoration Anglican Church confirmed my call to ordained ministry, which led to a long process of discernment, prayer, fasting, difficult questions, study, and a host of conversations with various clergy. My diocese, and ultimately my Bishop, also confirmed this call and I was ordained to the Diaconate in May 2016. The ordination to the Diaconate was the closing of one chapter– a chapter filled with questions and unrest. My internship ended with Restoration shortly thereafter. About that time the Church of the Ascension was looking to train young clergy in their pastoral vocation. You were so gracious to bring me on and give me opportunity to grow as a young deacon as I trained over the last year. Thank you for welcoming us and being such loving friends.
God has so richly blessed these last nine months and you have been so kind to let me “in” and entrust me with the responsibility of caring for God’s flock at Ascension. We have prayerfully weathered several major transitions together. Fr. Dean has been the best mentor I could have asked for and you have been such a generous parish. I have loved having coffee with so many of you and hearing the ways that God is at work in your lives, praying with you through difficult life circumstances, hearing how amazing your ANC’s are, preaching, leading the liturgy, and being greeted by your sweet children each week. It is a great gift that you have helped me grow into my vocation as a pastor and you have strengthened my desire to continue to walk into my calling to the priesthood (not every church does that to their pastors). And your rector has been such a great example to me as I’ve watched the ways that he balances family and church life, and in the way that he builds a team. God has given you an amazing team to shepherd Ascension (Fr. Dean, Andy, Judi, and now Barbara).
After June 4th I will be a priest, which is a slightly different role than a deacon in our denomination, but you’ll learn more about that in our sermon series. Although I am on staff at Ascension, I actually have a different Bishop, so I’ll be ordained at the 5pm service at Restoration Anglican Church (1815 N. Quincy St., Arlington, VA). I love the analogy of a story with chapters: The Diaconate was a wonderful chapter, but the end of this chapter really represents the conclusion of so many questions about vocation. We would love for you to join us for the first page of a new chapter on Sunday June 4. Here is a PDF of the official invitation.
The next logical question that many of you want to ask is “what is next?”. That is a great question. The new chapter has answered some of the vocational questions, but in many ways it raises new questions. Ashley and I have lived in south Arlington since 2012 and absolutely love this area. In fact we refer to it as “home” now. My year-long time of pastoral training at Ascension will come to an end at the close of July, but all the lessons learned will serve us in the next stage of ministry. There are a few things that we will be doing and would love for you to keep us in your prayers. Here is what we know so far: 1) I will be continuing to write my dissertation, 2) We will be planting an Anglican church where we live in south Arlington. God has been giving us the gift of getting to know our neighbors and opening our eyes to the needs of the diverse communities along Columbia Pike. As we have praying for our neighbors, Restoration Anglican Church has rolled out a strategic church-planting plan, which included south Arlington (in our zip code). In August Ashley and I will be focusing on building relationships near where we live until this church plant is ready to launch.
One of the greatest joys over the last nine months has been seeing a church love one another like you do. Please continue to keep us in your prayers as we walk into this next chapter. Your love has been such an encouragement. I will miss seeing you week in and week out because you are such a close family (and should really be proud of that!). Thank you for letting us in and welcoming us. This last year has been such a foundational time of growth and a privilege to be with such an amazing community. I look forward to seeing the ways that God will continue to work at Church of the Ascension and grow His kingdom there. I will be saddened to miss the next stage of your journey together, but you are in my prayers and I am cheering you on from wherever I will be!
In the hope of His resurrection,
The Rev. Morgan Reed