The pastor of one of Darien’s largest churches is leaving after being a mainstay there on and off for decades, he announced this week.
In a letter sent to the parish on Monday, the Rev. David Anderson announced he is leaving the parish after accepting a chaplain job in Philadelphia.
On why he is leaving, the letter wrote, “I have accepted a call to become the Chaplain of Episcopal Community Services in Philadelphia. I will be working with the Executive Director and the ECS team in an “ambassador” role, linking the diocese, the churches and ECS in the gospel work of addressing both the needs of the poor and the causes of poverty itself.”
Anderson began his ministry at Saint Luke’s, right out of seminary in 1989 as associate rector. In 1992 he left to lead a church in Pennsylvania and returned to St. Luke’s eleven years later, in 2003, to become Rector.
Anderson continued, “This was a hard decision. Pam and I love the Saint Luke’s community and our life in Darien. … I have been privileged to serve as your Rector for more than fifteen years. It’s hard to leave a community so deeply embedded in our hearts. But this call is right. It takes us back to Pennsylvania, from whence we came, and it offers me a completely new challenge in an urban setting.”
“And this is the right time to hand over leadership. Saint Luke’s is remarkably strong, clear and effective in its mission and financially sound. Further, the staff and ministry team now in place is, taken together, the finest I have seen. That means this congregation is in very capable hands.”
His last Sunday will be on Dec. 2, where he wrote, “Over the next six weeks we will be able to share stories, laughs and many hugs.”
David is married to Pam, a cookbook author and food blogger who has offered a lot of hospitality to the Saint Luke’s family. They have two daughters: Maggy, who lives with her husband Andy in Manhattan; and Sharon, who is a student at Yale Divinity School.
Anderson then acknowledged and thanked those he has worked with over the years, including senior warden Chuck Jackson and junior warden Mark Campbell
“I offer special thanks to Danny Lennox, who has blessed me in more ways than I can count. And I am grateful to Pam, who not only created her own extensive ministry here, but also, quietly, made mine possible,” he wrote.
His added that it has “been the greatest honor and privilege of my life to serve Saint Luke’s, Darien. I love you all.”
In a letter to the parish from Jackson and Campbell, they wrote about the upcoming change and the search for a new rector. “As we convey our deep sadness regarding David’s impending departure, we want to share our commitment to initiating a process that will ultimately identify our next rector, while recognizing the special vibrancy and spiritual core that defines our church.”
They continued, “Please be assured that the process has already begun and it will involve engagement with the bishops and staff of the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) to guide us in the transition process”
The two expressed how they feel about Anderson leaving, “It’s hard to think of Saint Luke’s without David: on a personal level, he has been a vital part of the spiritual journey of our families. We will miss him and Pam greatly.”
They added that the Wardens and Vestry will provide regular updates in the coming months, as well as a plan to organize get-togethers that will enable the congregation to express wishes and suggestions.”