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Sharing news of a call to new ministry

The Rev. Christopher D. Girata, the current rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee, has been called as the new rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, Texas.

“To state the obvious, we are very sad to see Chris and his family depart Calvary. However, we will say goodbye with extreme gratitude to him for all he has done for Calvary and with pride that he has been called to lead one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United States,” said Terre Sullivant, Calvary’s senior warden. “His sunny nature and wonderful sense of humor have brought smiles to all of us. More than anything, Chris has helped us remember why we all love Calvary so much. For that, we give thanks and face the future with confidence.”

Girata was called to Calvary in 2012, having served previously as associate rector at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He served as a seminarian at the Washington National Cathedral and St. John’s in Chevy Chase, Maryland. A graduate of Stetson University, Emory University, and Virginia Theological Seminary, he is currently completing his Doctor of Ministry at Duke University.

“My time at Calvary has been some of the most profoundly rich years of my life, with experiences I will treasure and carry with me,” said Girata. “I rejoice at the work that has been done over these past years. Calvary has seen growth and progress that has brought the community back to a place of health and vitality, allowing us to love and care for one another and our neighbors in remarkable ways. It is within that context that I am radically hopeful for Calvary’s future.”

Saint Michael and All Angels is a destination parish of nearly 7,000 members in Dallas. They have large, dedicated ministries that focus on discipleship and mission, using their resources to spread God’s love, to teach and learn the faith, and to serve Christ, within the congregation and in the broader community. Saint Michael and All Angels is a dynamic organization and iconic institution in the religious life of Dallas.

Letters to the parish from the Rev. Christopher D. Girata and Terre Sullivant, follow:

 

Dear friends,

I write to you tonight with a heart full of gratitude and love for the time we have journeyed together. During these last years, we have seen incredible healing and growth in our community, and now, after such a wonderful experience, I have been called away. I have accepted the call to be the next rector of Saint Michael and All Angels in Dallas, Texas.

My time at Calvary has been some of the most profoundly rich years of my life, with experiences I will treasure and carry with me. I am grateful for the love you have given to me, and I am especially grateful for the love you have given to Nicole and our children. Leaving Calvary has come sooner than I had imagined. It is important for you to know that I was not looking to leave Calvary. The Calvary community is an inspiration to me, grounded in the love of Christ and reaching out to share that love with all people. Yet the Spirit was at work in ways that I had not dreamed, and the time has come for all of us to begin a new chapter.

This moment comes at an amazing time in Calvary’s history. I rejoice with you at the work that has been done over these past years. Calvary has seen growth and progress that has brought the community back to a place of health and vitality, allowing us to love and care for one another and our neighbors in remarkable ways. It is within that context that I am radically hopeful for Calvary’s future.

Over these next few weeks, I invite you to join me in prayers of thanksgiving for the journey we have shared and for the future that is so bright. My love for you runs deep and will continue to the end. May the grace and blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Faithfully,

Chris


Dear fellow parishioners,

To state the obvious, we are very sad to see Chris and his family depart Calvary. However, we will say goodbye with extreme gratitude to him for all he has done for Calvary and with pride that he has been called to lead one of the largest Episcopal churches in the United States.

In four years’ time, Chris has made quite an impact. Today, Calvary is on sound financial footing. Membership is growing, our ministries are organized and thriving, and our services are inspiring. Our congregation is strong, unified, and optimistic about the future. His sunny nature and wonderful sense of humor have brought smiles to all of us. More than anything, Chris has helped us remember why we all love Calvary so much. For that, we give thanks and face the future with confidence.

There will be an orderly, intentional, and well-paced transition process. A search committee will be formed and, with the help of Bishop Johnson, Calvary will find a new rector to lead us. In the meantime, our clergy team, Eyleen, Paul, and Neil, along with Audrey, Mimsy, Bill, and Buddy, are more than capable to care for our parishioners. With our clergy, staff, and committed parishioners, there is no reason whatsoever that Calvary cannot and will not continue its upward trajectory.

The vestry invites everyone to a reception on Sunday, July 10, following the 10 a.m. worship service to celebrate Chris’ ministry and say goodbye to him, as well as Nicole, Brayden, Layna, and Annemarie. We send them forth with our love and prayers and heartfelt thanks.

With great hope,

Terre Sullivant
Senior Warden

Posted by Robyn Maudlin at 1:31 PM
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