The Reverend Archie Palmer, Interim

You are the People of God who gather at Annunciation to worship, learn, have fun, and grow — and from which you go out to serve. You have many, many talents and lots of enthusiasm. Your wonderful qualities make it truly exciting for me to re-join you as your interim minister. I trust that you'll benefit from our time together — as you identify the gifts God has given each one of you individually and all of your gifts collectively and how you can best use your gifts to serve our Lord.

Please view me as your guest, charged with some clearly defined liturgical, pastoral, and teaching functions to perform with you — never on or at you. Look for a visit at home [sometimes at work], where we can share lunch [with me bringing my own so as not to be a burden] and conversation and some time in prayer. Most importantly, know that your Wardens are in charge of what happens at Christ Church and, together with the Vestry, are my collective boss — and that the bishop is your rector during this time. And, just in case you were expecting miracles with me, remember that you have a Savior. His name is Jesus Christ. And I'm not in competition with him!

Whenever you have any concern, positive or otherwise, about anything I do, please feel free to tell me directly. That goes for children as well as adults. As you've probably realized, you've got someone with strong views in me. You graciously grant me a fantastic forum to speak, as I believe God leads me. You have an equal right to speak up —as God blesses you —and to challenge me in return.

In case you're wondering, I prefer to be on a first-name basis with everyone, including every child in the congregation. Through our baptism, God knows us by name. Because of my increasing "intellectual interludes," I'll take the liberty of addressing each of you by your first name. So I ask you to address me as "Archie" without any title, as a sign of our Christian relationship and our journey together in faith. Some background. After graduating from St. Albans School at the Washington Cathedral and Williams College, I spent a little over four years in the Army, both as an enlisted man and as a commissioned officer. The day my orders for OCS arrived in 1963, I was AWOL, marching with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Washington, DC, where I tried to grow up. Some of you may have been there too. Jump school and training as a tank officer led to stints in Korea and Texas. After graduation from the Philadelphia Divinity School, Bishop Leland Stark ordained me in 1969. Lynne and I met and married during seminary.

I served as assistant at St. James' in Upper Montclair, 1969-71; rector of Trinity Church, Arlington, in Kearny, 1971-82; and rector of Trinity, Cranford, 1982-84, which was not a happy time. The next 16 years I was "non-parochial" and worked first as a management and skills trainer for Automatic Data Processing, 1985-88, then as manager of apheresis development at The Blood Center of New Jersey, 1988-2000.

The Reverend Archie Palmer, Interim

Eleven years ago, I took the basic Interim Ministry Network course. There I learned to focus on providing leadership in worship, pastoral care, and support for lay ministries, plus guidance and encouragement while folk work through the various opportunities that constitute this "in-between time." In January 2001, I began full-time interim ministry at St. James, Ridgefield Park, but God had other plans. Later that year I started over, this time in half-time interim ministry at St. Andrew's, Lincoln Park; followed by St. Luke's, Haworth, and Trinity, Cliffside Park, all for a year each' with two months at St. Andrew & Holy Communion, South Orange; 19 months with Annunciation, Oradell; and 32 months at Christ Church, Pompton Lakes, through June of last year. I finally retired for good from the Blood Center at the end of 2006.

Lynne retired three years ago as the school social worker in North Arlington. She worships at the Congregational Church in Glen Ridge, where we live. There she's been a Stephen Minister for many years. Since retirement she's taken up a long-withheld love, of fine art. This summer, she's exhibited a number of her paintings at several venues this summer and has sold or contributed artwork to charity. We've been happily married for over 44 years.

Our daughter Karen lives in Wharton with her daughters Tyler [almost 17] and Madison [almost 7] and husband John Steger. Karen works for Budget Car Rental and in 2003 graduated magna cum laude from William Paterson. She earned her MBA from Centenary College in 2009 with straight As. She teaches Sunday school, served as treasurer at Wharton Community Church [where her children flourish], and is a phenomenal mother.

Lynne and I are "cat people" and backyard beekeepers, usually harvesting hundreds of pounds of honey from our four hives. We enjoy bicycling and cross-country skiing when the weather's right, as well as reading and classical music. I try to swim or Nordic-track three times a week, bake sourdough bread, and walk the streets of Glen Ridge as often as possible with Lynne.

We have a rewarding tradition of family prayer that's seen us through some heavy-duty life challenges. We're significantly involved with several charities. Giving platelets is one of my passions = over 500 donations plus another 100 of whole blood or red cells. I served three terms as a trustee at Bloomfield College and have been privileged to act with power-of-attorney and as executor for several family members and friends. Your role as spelled out in the contract signed by Ted Gustenhoven and Brian Demay is to be the People of God. That involves a lot of loving and caring for one another, reaching out with open arms and willing hearts to each other, newcomers in your midst, and the world beyond.

You are infinitely precious to God. I look forward to encouraging you always to work out your own salvation... knowing that God's in the midst of it, cheering you on! [See Philippians 2:12b-13] It's my hope that together we can put flesh on Jesus' New Commandment: to love one another as he loves us [See John 13:34], as you spend quality time learning more about yourselves, God's will for you as a parish, what commitments you're willing to make —all in preparation for your calling your next rector.

Archie Palmer
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