Sunday, 2 August 2015
Dear parishioners of St. Michael and All Angels,
On Sunday, 16 August 2015, Fr. Richard Mallory, our Interim Rector, shall celebrate his first Sunday masses at 7:45, 10:15 AM and 5:00 PM at St. Michael & All Angels. I take this opportunity to introduce him to you in advance, using his own words, so it would be easier for you to get acquainted with him when you welcome him.
“I first became an interim rector in 1999 almost as a fluke. I had been working full time as a psychotherapist in private practice, a director of a satellite counseling site of a multi-professional counseling center in New York City for 29 years. I had been a senior faculty member in the pastoral counseling department of the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health/Hebrew Union College doctoral program for over 20 years. I lived in Stamford, CT, and the Diocese of CT asked if I could be the interim in a nearby town where an interim rector had abruptly resigned.
“I had never imagined that I would work in a congregation when I went to Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1965. My intention was to specialize in Old Testament studies and be a teacher. After my first year, a dynamic and life changing experience in Clinical Pastoral Education at an Atlanta general hospital reoriented me to the world of the psyche. I sought out individual psychotherapy and benefited from exploring my own inner world with the help of a solid professional. I knew that I too wanted to enter that field. That I did by going through the most rigorous training program in pastoral counseling and psychotherapy at the Blanton Peale Institute after graduating from Union. I spent three years in full time work in the alcoholism and drug rehabilitation units of the Roosevelt Hospital in New York and developed a specialty in my practice of working with recovering people in twelve step programs. The other two specialties in my practice became working with couples and traumatized people.
“I accepted that first interim ministry opportunity five years after my wife died of recurrent breast cancer. In looking back on that decision/calling, I was ready for something different. I had always loved the Bible, having grown up in a Southern Baptist context in Alabama, and came to find even more power released in the Scriptures through critical scholarship I first encountered as an undergraduate at Wake Forest. In this interim work, I knew that I liked preaching, teaching, pastoring and began to discover that I was a leader. Upon leaving this parish, it was unmistakable that I had made a difference to an anxious congregation when I first arrived. I could no longer deny that besides making a difference to individuals, groups, couples and students in the world of psychotherapy, I also made a difference in a wider and larger context of a parish. I realized in my own life the difference a primary leader can make for a group.
“My second interim work was in a Greenwich, CT parish where the retiring rector had been for 29 years. He was a good man and also set a controlling and anxious style of leadership. I later learned that he did not attend coffee hours, did not want an ECW group in the parish and wanted first to read every communication from any staff that went out on the letterhead. After being there for a few months, I’ll never forget one parishioner who exclaimed, “We are free to get to know one another.” My leadership style is relaxed just as I am with counselees, providing a safe place and a welcoming presence to all. The essential message is and must be, “You are welcome here, wherever you are in your life’s journey. “ After all, our goal is the imitation of Christ. Did he not welcome anyone who was seeking healing?
“I worked in two more CT parishes before moving to Arizona in 2008. I moved to work in a counseling center in Scottsdale. It has since closed its doors. I knew after several months I had landed in a counseling center with vastly different standards of professionalism than I expected. I knew that staying was intolerable. I had begun to attend the cathedral and began to make connections at the Diocese. An opportunity was offered to be a part time vicar at St. Thomas in Clarkdale. This parish had been battered by prior leadership. My job was to stabilize and pastor a shaken community. After three years, I pursued the associate’s position at All Saints of the Desert in Sun City where I have been serving for almost two years. Here and throughout my ministry, I have concentrated on preaching, teaching, leading small groups both in matters of loss and grief and in men’s work of deeper sharing and communication.
“I am interested in being your interim rector at this time. I had a delightful conversation with your senior warden John Hsieh. I learned about your sign prophesying the sin of nuclear weapons and how that sign survived a truck’s attempt to pull it out of the ground resulting in the sign pulling off a part of the truck. I learned that St. Michael’s in strongly committed in outreach to hungry people. I sense that St. Michael’s encompasses these two poles active ministry and witness undergirded by worship, prayer and openness to Holy Spirit.”
Let us get ready to welcome Fr. Richard.
With gratitude and joy,
Your Senior Warden,