Hello, SsAM! My name is Patrick Burke, and it is with joy and excitement that I accept the call to be your next rector.
SsAM is a really special faith community in the way that you have intentionally created an inclusive and diverse congregation — a congregation that’s been a beacon of Jesus’s love in Wilmington and in Delaware for almost 30 years. Your work in the community, and especially around racial justice and reconciliation resonates very deeply with me.
I’m a musician by training and a lover of beautiful liturgy. I was drawn to the richness of your music programs and to both the beauty and diversity of your liturgy.
But what really has drawn me to SsAM was your warmth, hospitality, and your generosity of spirit. I had a sense of it when I started the search process but it became really evident when we visited Wilmington. I’ve experienced a few churches over the years. The ways that we were welcomed and cared for by the search committee, and really by everyone that we encountered, was truly remarkable and helped us to understand in that moment just how special SsAM truly is. I am so excited to serve a ministry with you, and to explore what God has in store for us together.
I just want to share a little bit about my family: my wife Cheryl, my daughter Lexi, and our dog Fezzig. (Yes, the character from The Princess Bride). We come to you from the Indianapolis area, where we’ve lived for nearly the past 20 years. I come to you after serving most recently as the Minister for Justice and Community Collaboration at St. Paul’s, Indianapolis.
Now, I just want to make note of one thing, which is our move. Now, this is not going to be a typical family move for us. My daughter Lexi is entering her senior year in high school. So Fezz and I will be packing up the Camry and driving out to Wilmington in early September to move into an apartment. Cheryl and Lexi will be staying here in the Indie area so she can finish up her senior year of high school. They’re going to visit periodically, and there’ll be times when I’m back in Indie for important milestone moments. Our plan is that, after Lexi’s graduation, we’ll get together and move to Wilmington.
I can’t tell you how excited we are for this transition, so excited to meet each and every one of you, to get to know you, to hear your stories, and to serve Jesus with you, seeking justice and dignity for all of God’s children together. God has brought us together in this moment. And I cannot wait to dream with you about what lies ahead.
May God continue to richly bless you. I am so looking forward to celebrating this next chapter of ministry together.