Rev. Jill Beimdiek has accepted the vestry’s call to be St. Paul’s Interim Rector while the search for a permanent rector is underway. Since she cannot immediately meet everyone during the pandemic, her introductory letter follows:
Dear People of St Paul’s,
I am very much looking forward to joining the St. Paul’s family as your Interim Rector. In these strange days of the coronavirus pandemic, this joining will be different–it may be a while before we meet face-to-face, and it will be longer than any of us want before we are gathering on Sunday mornings. So for now I’ll opt for a written introduction.
Many people ask about my last name: Beimdiek. It’s pronounced Bime (like lime) – dick. It’s Dutch and means “by the dike.” I’m very used to it being mispronounced, so don’t worry about it. And you may be wondering what to call me. God knows me as Jill, and calling me by just my first name is fine with me. If you’re uncomfortable calling your priest by first name, I’m okay with Mother Jill.
I am delighted to be back in the Diocese of North Carolina. Bishop Michael Curry ordained me in 2004 and I haven’t had the privilege of serving in the Diocese until now. I’ve served churches in suburban Philadelphia, then Fayetteville, Greenville and Goldsboro, and most recently Columbia, SC. My husband of almost 10 years and I decided our move from Columbia would be our last (our fourth since we married) and we opted for the Triangle. I had spent 15 years in Durham before seminary and two of Chuck’s three adult children are in the area (Durham and Garner; the third is in Fayetteville). We built a house in a 55+ community near RDU and moved in April.
I am what is known as an intentional interim priest. I like the challenges of being with a congregation during the time between long-term priests. I’ve done training in interim ministry and seek to help a congregation become strong, clear about its ministries and identity, and ready to welcome a new rector. The down-side of interim work is knowing from day one that I will have to say good-bye. I sometimes joke with vestries during an interview that if they call me as their interim, I will come fired. It is ministry for a defined time, and when the new rector is called, I exit. It is never easy.
Before seminary at Yale, I worked as a policy analyst in the US Senate, taught English at Duke, coordinated clinical trials in pediatric hematology and oncology, and wrote for the pharmaceutical industry–it’s an odd vocational series, I grant you, but in hindsight I see God giving me opportunities to gain very useful skills as I repeatedly considered and rejected a call to ordained ministry (I first thought I might be called in the early days after the Episcopal Church approved the ordination of women to the priesthood). I also gained a lot of experiences in the church over 20+ years as I “bargained” with God about the rather persistent call that I was choosing to ignore, thinking if I agreed to a request in my home parish (co-chairing stewardship, advising acolytes, chaperoning youth trips, vice-chairing a capital campaign, etc.) God might drop the gentle nudges about ordination. God won. And I’ve been blessed beyond anything I could have imagined to serve as a priest in God’s church.
I look forward to meeting you, whether via Zoom, a phone call, or a socially distanced visit. Stay tuned for more information about how we can begin to get to know each other. In the meantime, know that I am holding St. Paul’s and all of you in my prayers.
Grace and peace,