Announcements to the Congregation

October 11, 2020

St. Aidan’s in Transition

Next Steps:  Discernment Committee


Dear St. Aidan’s Family,


On behalf of the vestry, I am excited to announce that a Discernment Committee has been formed. This was the next important task for the transition process. With instructions from our transition minister, Sarah, and guidance from Rosemary, the vestry met and prayed, and the following people answered the invitation to serve on the Discernment Committee:


Darlene Ash

Pris Bornmann

Viju Dilley

Mary Jane Guffey

Lisa Richard

Kevin Saunders

Kathy Seikel

Barbara Cotter, alternate


In the past, this committee would have been known as a Search Committee. So why is it called a Discernment Committee and not a Search Committee? The process of discernment is a prayerful and intentional attempt to sort out and distinguish God’s Spirit at work in a situation and to develop a sense of the direction in which the Spirit is leading. It is an act of spiritual formation and one that we practice faithfully. The Committee will discern where the parish has been, where it is today, and where God is calling St. Aidan’s to be in the future. 


The Committee will work in close communication with Sarah, Rosemary and the vestry. There will be a lot of opportunity for input from the congregation. Over the course of the next 12-14 months, the Committee will publish a vestry-approved and Bishop-approved Community Ministry Portfolio, which will provide an overview of St. Aidan’s and our vision. The Discernment Committee will guide us to improve our website for the benefit of potential rector candidates and potential parishioners. The Discernment Committee will receive names and will select a finalist after the Diocese’s office of transition ministry vets the candidates. 


We are thankful for the time and effort that Darlene, Pris, Viju, Mary Jane, Lisa, Kevin, Kathy, and Barbara are willing to dedicate to St. Aidan’s and to this important task. We will commission the Discernment Committee at a worship service in the next few weeks. Let us hold them and keep them in our prayers as they begin their work. As Rosemary reminded the vestry, the Holy Spirit formed this committee. We are excited to see what happens next!


Peace and blessings on our Parish Family,


Elizabeth Drembus and the St. Aidan’s vestry





August 18, 2020

St. Aidan’s in Transition


Tues night, the vestry held our second meeting with Sarah Brockenbrough, our transition minister from the Diocese of Richmond. She walked us through the process to form the Discernment Committee. What is the role of the Discernment Committee? According to the Diocesan website:

  • The committee studies the parish, with input from the congregation.

  • The committee publishes a vestry- and Bishop-approved Community Ministry Portfolio, which provides an overview of the church and its vision.

  • The committee guides the church to improve its website, which will include relevant and up-to-date information on the church and the search process, for the benefit of both potential candidates and potential parishioners.

  • The committee receives names and selects a finalist after the office of transition ministry vets the candidates. 

  • The vestry affirms the committee’s recommendation, and a call is issued.

This process, undertaken with prayerful deliberation, may take 12 months or more. Please continue to keep the vestry and our parish in your prayers as we enter the next steps in the transition process. 


Peace and Blessings on our Parish Family,







July 1, 2020

St. Aidan’s in Transition


From your Vestry

Announcement - Interim Rector for St. Aidan's


The vestry is excited to announce that Bishop Goff has appointed The Rev Rosemary Beales as interim rector during St. Aidan's transition. The vestry was introduced to Rosemary in April, and we were able to be in conversation and discern with her before the appointment was made. During our conversation, it became apparent that Rosemary would be an excellent match for us because she was familiar with St. Aidan's and has an appreciation for who we are as a parish. Rosemary shared that she enjoyed our Celtic Service, had positive things to say about our grounds and outdoor Labyrinth, and she has a strong attraction to contemplative practice as well as a wealth of knowledge of Godly Play training and working with youth. Her name may be familiar to some of you. She very ably led all three of our worship services last year on Pentecost Sunday.


In her role as interim rector, as outlined in the agreement with our parish, she will perform functions normally undertaken by a rector. Working with the vestry and other lay leaders, Rosemary will assist in the management and direction of the transition period during her time with us at St. Aidan's. In addition, she will share in the management of the church office and will provide general direction to the staff. We are so pleased that she will be able to begin her work with us today, Wednesday, July 1st. In the coming days she will meet with the staff. We have invited her to join us at evening worship services. And we are excited that she will be celebrating morning worship on Sunday, July 5th. Please join the vestry in extending a very warm St. Aidan's welcome to The Rev Rosemary Beales. We look forward to having her be our guide and our friend alongside us in this journey. 

St Aidan's Vestry



The Rev Dr. Rosemary Beales

Dear St. Aidan’s family,


When I first met with Elizabeth Drembus about the possibility of serving as your interim rector, I think the first question I asked her was, “What is the story of St. Aidan’s?” Story has been essential to my understanding of the Christian life. It is how we form community, how we come to know God and one another, and how we encounter the world around us. 


Of course, the stories I heard from Elizabeth and other vestry members can only be partial. Each of you has your own story ⎯ not only of how you came to join the St. Aidan’s story, but of how you grew up, why you chose your occupation or course of study, who you share your lives with, what you do in your daily routine, and, of course, how you have known and been known by God. I long to hear each of your stories, and in the months ahead, we’ll find a way to make that happen.


I wish ⎯ as I know you do ⎯ that we were meeting around God’s table, sharing the feast that Jesus gives us and singing our hearts out, and then gathering around ordinary tables for coffee hour or heartfelt conversation. But coronavirus and Covid-19 are part of our story in this strange season, and together (at a distance, for now) we will discover the unique graces of this time. We know about the burdens, but I am sure the blessings will be revealed, because our God can always bring good out of evil and bounty out of bane. That’s the constant theme of scripture and the heart of the life-giving story of Jesus and God’s love.


Story became the theme of my life when, in 1996, I sat on the floor of a church hall and watched the Rev. Dr. Jerome Berryman raise a wooden ark over his head in a gesture that struck me as both baptismal and Eucharistic. In that instant, and the wondering that followed, I knew that the stories I had heard all my life belonged to me, and I belonged to them. Godly Play ⎯ a way of knowing God designed for the youngest among us ⎯ brought me to my most mature understanding of my faith, and I have spent the years since then going deeper into the stories and what they mean for this troubled world. From Sunday School volunteer, to seminary and ordination, to work at a parish in Ellicott City, Md., and finally to the past 12 years as chaplain and pastor to 400 children, I have understood my vocation as sharing the story of God’s saving love, in community, through word, action, sacrament, and presence. 


On a personal note, I am a mother of 3 adult children (a son and twin daughters), grandmother to 7 exceptionally cute children, companion to a polydactyl cat called Chloe, patio gardener, fan of British TV mysteries, avid baker but not much of a cook, enthusiastic but not especially gifted singer, former journalist of 25 years’ experience, and at-home Jazzercise dancer (only at home, I promise).


The path that joins my story to yours has been circuitous, but like the path of the labyrinth, continues to lead to the center. We are called to journey together for a time and to merge our stories as you discern where God is calling St. Aidan’s in the years ahead, and whom God is preparing, even now, to become your next rector. Along the way, like pilgrims on any path, we’ll get to know each other as we “walk in love,” worship, seek justice, love God through loving our neighbor, and create a new story for St. Aidan’s and the world.


The Rev Dr. Rosemary Beales




 Dear St. Aidan’s Community,


It was with a heavy heart that I received the news that John is retiring. For many of us, John Baker has been the only rector we have known at St. Aidan’s, and that goes for me as well. And while his departing will be sad for me personally, we have the opportunity to celebrate joyously all of the gifts he has given us. 


For more than 20 years, John has offered unwavering pastoral care through our life cycles of weddings, new births, baptisms, deaths and everything in between. He has been an astute guide and mentor along our spiritual journeys helping us (and prodding us) to ask the questions that fill our thoughts and hearts, letting us know it is okay to ask those questions. Through his teaching and his preaching, with car repair metaphors, stories about growing up in Memphis, reflections on art and spiritual wisdom, he has helped us see the wonder and joy that can be found when we come together in community. He has helped us to welcome new people through our doors and encouraged the formation of our leaders. He has guided our parish through building and financial challenges, through trials in our nation and in the world. He has laughed, cried, and held us in his prayers. We are all the stronger for it. 


Between now and April 26th, we will love each other and celebrate our time together as we prepare to say good-bye and for the road that lies ahead. We are deeply sorry to see to John go, and we are grateful for all that he has given us. We rejoice for John and Mary and we will wish them heartfelt good wishes in this next exciting stage of their journey.   


Then we will enter into a time of transition with the help of the Diocesan Office of Transition Ministry. Bonnie Brynczak (Junior Warden) and I have already been in contact with our diocesan representative, Sarah Brockenbrough, who has been assigned to St. Aidan’s. Sarah will guide our parish over the course of the next year and will be with us each step of the way. Already she has been supportive, reassuring and encouraging as she shares what the next steps will be like. She has assured us that she will “stick close to us throughout the process no matter what.”  


As the parish enters this “in between time” we will do so prayerfully, in contemplation with discerning hearts and minds.  With Sarah’s guidance we will take time to reflect on answering these questions:

  • Who have we been?

  • Who are we now?

  • Who is God calling us to be?


Certainly, there may be anxiety about what the coming months may look like. This is new to most of us, and we are going to be okay. Approached faithfully, there may also be great discovery and growth. Together we will do the still slow work God is calling us to enter into.  


Peace and blessings on our Parish Family,

Elizabeth Drembus

Senior Warden



8531 Riverside Rd.

Alexandria, Virginia, 22308

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