Dear Old South Church,
I write today with bittersweet news: our colleague, friend, and fellow church member Helen McCrady - Senior Administrator Extraordinaire and, in so many ways, weaver of the many-stranded, richly complex, ingeniously patterned tapestry that is the life of our church - has announced that she will step into a richly-deserved retirement at the threshold of this summer. Helen's last day in the office of which she has been such a superlative steward will be May 31.
Helen's first day at Old South was November 1 of 1999. Across more than 23 years she has tended our records, wrangled our numbers, recorded our statistics, filed our documents, scheduled our meetings, stage-managed our services, counted our members, rented our facilities. How many more phrases could any of us add to that list?! Her tenure spans the approximate width of a human generation - and the width of several generations of technology, the tenure of four colleagues in the Senior Minister's office, many Associate Ministers, even more Seminarians and Interns. And, unlike administrative staff leaders in so many churches, Helen has sat beside us in worship week by week, and not only managed the organization of our work of Justice, Mercy and Beauty, but shared that work wholeheartedly and unstintingly. In so many senses, she has done ministry - with us, for us, beside us, on our behalf.
The other day, when I asked Helen what it was like to look back on her remarkable tenure at Old South, she said, "I was lucky to find a job that challenged me and gave me responsibilities that I enjoy, things I'm good at - and even luckier that it was a job within a community that was doing work I care about, and with people whom I love." It's been a synergy that has borne fruit for Old South a thousandfold.
The Council has appointed Candace Kosturko to chair a Helen McCrady Celebration Committee - from whom you can expect to hear, in coming weeks, about plans for our joyful, grateful acknowledgement of all that Helen's service and Helen's company have meant to us. Meanwhile, the Staff and the Council are already at work on a process that will lead, we hope by Eastertide, to identifying a new Church Administrator; please pray for us!
Old South has weathered many changes across our storied history. Here's another - and, with your help, and the help of the still-speaking God, we'll rise to it. But we couldn't be the church we are now without Helen's faithful stewardship - and so on your behalf I say, not for the first time and not for the last: Thank you and God bless you, Helen!
See below for some words from Helen
Interim Senior Minister
Dear Church Family,
We know all too well that change is inevitable, and it is time for me to make a big one. On the one hand I can't imagine life without coming in to Old South every day, on the other hand I'm having all kinds of daydreams about life without coming in to the church every day!
There are no words to express how grateful I am to God and to Old South for all I have received here. When - in September of 1999 - I first entered the doors at 645 Boylston for a job interview, I had no idea that a new and wonderful part of my life was about to unfold. I have found my calling, my purpose, and my faith family here. I have been taught, challenged, supported and comforted in so many ways over these years.
My plans now involve a little travel, a lot of gardening and a lot more exercise! More time with my husband and cat!
We still have time for conversations, reflections and farewells in the next four months - so I'll leave it here for now.
With boundless love and thanks,