Letter from the Rev. Mark W. Kelm
December 1, 2016
My Dear Friends in Christ:
First, thank you so much for all the cards and well wishes during my medical leave and on my birthday! I feel very loved by all of you, and please know that I love you back. Thank you to the staff and many volunteers who filled in during this time. It was very comforting to know that St. John's has been in such good and capable hands.
Thank you also for allowing me this time to assess my health. For those of you who haven't heard, I have been diagnosed and living with young-onset Parkinson's Disease for about 8 years. This is a progressive disease, and it became clear that I needed to take time off to assess with my medical team and to be reviewed by our Church Pension medical board. During this past month, I have been able to work on getting healthier through physical therapy and trying different combinations of medications. I have also had time to consult with the Bishop and others about my future. After discussion, it became clear that it is time for me to medically retire, so that I can focus full time on my health. This was not a decision that was made lightly, but prayerfully and thoughtfully, and keeping the best interests of the people of St. John's as well as those of my family in my heart.
I have loved my time with you. It has been an honor, a privilege, and a joy. Together, we have celebrated great joys, and grieved great losses. I feel that I have received as much from you as I have been able to provide you.
The Kelm family has also loved our time with you. Our children have grown up among you. When we came to St. John's, 13 years ago, we had only one child, 18-month-old Grace. You have watched us grow into a family of 5, and have been so loving to our children. We are so grateful to you for all the love you have shown them and us over the years!
You are a wonderful community of people, and I feel that the ministries, building, finances, and attendance are in great shape to attract your next Rector. Please know that Beth and I will be praying for all of you as you make this transition, and ask that you also continue to hold us in prayer.
Now, May you dance through life as if no one were watching you. May you love as if you've never been hurt before. May you sing out loud as if no one were listening to you. May you live each and every day of your life as if it were your last. And may the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit, be amongst you and remain with you always! Amen.
In Christ's Love,
The Rev. Mark W. Kelm