In the coming months Eucharist Church will be undergoing a Rector Transition as we bless and send the Jones Family (Fr. Ryan, Elizabeth, and their boys) to their new work at Iona House and as we welcome Rev. Jeff Locke as our new Rector along with his wife, Kathy, and their kids. All pertinent transition information can be found below, including letters from Fr. Ryan & Elizabeth, our Vestry, Rev. Jeff, and a special message from our Dean, Fr. Rob.
If you have any questions or would like to process this information with a member of our Clergy or Staff, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If you need help coordinating such a conversation you can email Ferial at ferial@eucharistSF.org.
Most loving Father, you will us to give thanks for all things, to dread nothing but the loss of you, and to cast all our care on the One who cares for us. Preserve us from faithless fears and worldly anxieties, and grant that no clouds of this mortal life may hide from us the light of that love which is immortal, and which you have manifested unto us in your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read the Letter from Fr. Ryan & Elizabeth Jones
October 21, 2021
Dear Eucharist Church Family,
We (Elizabeth and Ryan) are writing to share some important news with you. Perhaps it would be helpful to put what we share within the broader context of our Eucharist Church story…
From the beginning of Eucharist Church, we as a church have always talked about ourselves as a resource church – offering Great Tradition Christianity to the Bay Area (and beyond). This vision has allowed our church to be a training ground for clergy, leaders, and seminarians – offering curacies for pastors exploring the Anglican Tradition, etc.; we’ve helped launch a church plant (Holy Trinity Silicon Valley); we’ve been a liturgical/sacramental resource for our Evangelical friends, and more. To be a resource church is to live with open hands and a big heart – things Eucharist has embodied so well. Today we’re writing to tell you about a further step in this resource church direction, one that has deeply personal implications for us and our boys and which will likely impact you as well.
Starting nearly three and a half years ago, we (Elizabeth & Ryan) began to be captured by a vision that we sensed God placing in our hearts to start a monastic-inspired, agriculturally-themed, contemplative retreat center in a rural Northern California location as a means of complementing and deepening Christian mission to San Francisco and the Bay Area. We initially spent many months talking to our mentors, trusted family/friends, our bishop, and others who in time confirmed that this vision resonated with what they saw as our gifts / calling. Over the past few years, as we’ve sat with it and prayed into it, the vision has grown in our hearts to the point that we felt that we needed to set in motion some important processes to allow it to become a reality.
So this past November (2020) we began a conversation with the vestry to set in motion a plan to implement this vision for a contemplative retreat center. Over the past 11 months we have walked together with the vestry, our bishop, and our staff to prayerfully put together a plan for the future of Eucharist Church. The culmination of this process is that January 9, 2022 will be our last Sunday as the rector of Eucharist Church. Lord willing, we will be moving our family to Placerville, CA where we will take a short sabbatical and then begin working on developing Iona House. As Iona House’s motto puts it, this will be a place to reimagine all of life in reference to Christ. As you can see from the motto, this new ministry’s DNA is taken from the same fabric as that of Eucharist Church. We have imagined it as both a regional extension of, and a complementary ministry to, that of Eucharist’s ministry, as well as a strategic resource to Eucharist and a partner in the work of the gospel.
What happens to Eucharist Church come January? Our greatest prayer ever since this vision began growing in our hearts three plus years ago has been that Eucharist Church would be fully provided for in the forthcoming transition, that there would be a strong leadership team/staff, unity, momentum, and a successor in place for this transition. God has answered each of these prayers in a number of incredibly powerful ways.
We’re writing this letter to invite you to an all church meeting this coming Sunday (Oct. 24). Following worship we will talk more in detail about our transition, what it means, etc. as well as about the future of Eucharist Church, the next rector (The Reverend Jeff Locke), the process by which he was selected, and more. We’ll have a chance to answer questions and be together in prayer. You should know that this entire process has been done in step with our Anglican polity (form of church governance), under the Bishop’s oversight, with the vestry, and with the support of the staff. See the video from our diocesan regional dean (Fr. Rob Patterson) and the letter from the vestry. There has been remarkable amounts of unity in this process that speak to a future of great health and vitality for Eucharist Church. We (Elizabeth and Ryan) honestly believe that the best days of Eucharist Church are ahead.
That being said, all of what we’re writing about today may elicit a number of thoughts and feelings – some of which are characterized by grief and anxiety. This is totally understandable. Even for us, while we’re excited about the chapter ahead, we’re grieving. We have poured ourselves – heart, soul, and mind – into Eucharist Church for the past nearly 7 years. Eucharist Church has been far more than merely a ministry or job for us; it has been our family’s spiritual home and our primary relational community. We’ve never been part of a church that felt more like home and which brought us so much joy. Eucharist has a phenomenal staff, a committed group of leaders, and some of the most wonderful people on the planet as parishioners.
So if this is the case, why would the Joneses make a transition, you might ask? Because we have sensed that our hearts and imaginations have been so captured by this retreat / house of formation vision that we have come to believe that this is the Lord’s will for us. So as to not make it sound overly “holy”, there are things about this vision that, humanly speaking, pull on our hearts: a chance for Elizabeth’s gifts to be engaged more fully alongside Ryan’s, a chance to anchor our lives back in the roots of where Ryan grew up living amidst family support for our kids, a chance to engage agricultural dreams that have been inaccessible to us living in the city, and a chance to more fully flesh out our spiritual formation / discipleship dreams (which saw partial expression, for example, in the catechumenate, etc.) – to name but a few factors.
A decision to make a transition is never simple and always has multiple dimensions. But you should know that none of the factors reflect a lack of love for Eucharist Church; on the contrary, it is the love and support of the Eucharist community, and your eager embrace of the vision to live all of life in reference to Christ, which have encouraged and enabled us to embrace the call to develop Iona House. You are dearly beloved to us. We will miss you all terribly. The silver lining is, of course, that we hope to remain connected via offering a place of hospitality for personal and small group retreats at Iona House. We’ll be there, and you are always welcome!
Please know that as you process this transition our door is open to you. We would love to sit down with you or set up a call to process with you. It has been our prayer that you will feel personally seen and cared for throughout this transition. We have been, and will continue, praying for you. Please pray for us.
Ryan & Elizabeth
Dear Eucharist Church family,
When Ryan and Elizabeth first shared with the Vestry about their vision for Iona House and intention to take practical steps to see that vision come to fruition, we each felt a full range of emotional responses: surprise over the news, curiosity about this opportunity, sadness, and apprehension over what a pastoral transition might mean for the church. We share this to say that, however you are feeling as you process this news, we are with you. You have been in our minds, our hearts, and our prayers since the beginning.
Over the following months, we met frequently with Ryan and Elizabeth to better understand their vision for Iona House and to imagine what a flourishing Eucharist community could look like in the months and years to come. We quickly saw Ryan and Elizabeth’s heart for Iona House. Over time, we soon began to see this transition as the natural next step in what God has been doing in their lives.
We are therefore overjoyed to send them into this next season, as the Book of Common Prayer puts it, to do the work that [God] has called them to do – to love and serve [God] as faithful witnesses of Christ our Lord. We are also excited to continue to grow alongside the Jones family as participants in the ministry. In many ways, Iona House is the natural extension of what God has been growing our community into over the last six years through our communal study of monastic practices, earth care, and the great tradition. We, therefore, invite you to join us in sending Ryan, Elizabeth, Nathan, and Aidan into this next wonderful season.
As Father Rob shares in his video, the Vestry has prayerfully worked together with the Eucharist staff, Bishop Todd, and the Jones family to build a transition plan and to find a new Rector. We are thrilled to share that the Reverend Jeff Locke will be joining Eucharist as our Rector this January. Throughout the long interview process, Jeff has demonstrated high levels of pastoral care for our Vestry and staff, deep knowledge of the Bay Area, a commitment to living all of life in reference to Christ, and tremendous love for his family and former congregation at Grace Alameda. We look forward to welcoming Jeff, Kathy, and their four children to Eucharist in the new year.
If you have any questions about the process, Ryan’s transition, next steps for Eucharist, etc., please don’t hesitate to reach out to any member of the Vestry. Also please plan to join us this Sunday, after church, to meet with us so we can answer questions you may have.
Please know that we are praying for you and for all of Eucharist Church. We love you, and it is a tremendous honor to serve Christ alongside you.
Grace and peace,
Tom Ruby, Katie Lilly, Pat O’Kane, Daniel Zimmerman, & Ivy Sjoholm
Dear Eucharist family,
My heart is filled with awe and gratitude as Kathy, our kids, and I prepare for our new calling at Eucharist Church. When we first made the decision to leave Grace Church Alameda, we didn’t know where the Lord would lead next. We kept our hands open to Heaven and were ready to move out of state, or even out of the country, in obedience to God’s will.
Instead, our Heavenly Father demonstrated his kindness and generosity to us in leading us to Eucharist. We get to stay and do ministry in a place we know and love! You all so warmly received us during my curacy this summer—my kids (even little Margot) ask regularly when we get to come back! And the vision of the church aligns so completely with what the Spirit has been planting deep in my own heart over the last 12 years of ministry in the Bay, that I often have to catch my breath in amazement at God’s goodness and love for me.
I am deeply humbled and thankful to be called as the new rector at Eucharist. It will be a privilege and delight to serve with our wonderful staff team, to deepen relationships we already have and build brand new ones, and to join with you in the Spirit’s work to build a community in San Francisco that lives all of life in reference to Christ. Just writing these words fills my heart with joy.
You are all in our hearts and prayers in this time of transition. May the Lord overwhelm you with his love, joy, and peace.
Yours gratefully in Christ,