Address to the Parish community
Annual Meeting – Saint Edward, January 2026, 2020
The Rev. Fabio Sotelo, Interim Priest
Dear Vestry members and officers, Dear staff, Dear parishioners,
Brothers and sisters in Christ
It is with great joy that I am delivering this message as the Interim Priest of this Parish Community of Saint Edwards. It is hard to believe that when I was asked by the bishop Wright to come to Saint Edwards five years ago, 2014, to start a service in Spanish, it was going to take me to be the priest for the whole community, very hard to believe.
I still do not understand all what it means to be the interim priest, but what I know is that it is a great honor and it carries out a profound responsibility. Honor, because I love and respect each and all of you. Responsibility, because I know that God is entrusting to me the care of your spiritual lives.
Can I do this work? I can do it because I am not alone. I am not going to do this alone. I saw the Bishop at the ATL revival last Wednesday, and I said to him “What have you done to me, Bishop?” He smiled, gave me big hug and said, ‘take your time, take your time, and do not worry, you are not alone, you have my full support.” So, I have his support. But not only that, of the vestry’s, and parishioners. And above all, I have God’s support, who guides me and gives me the strength.
You already know me, which in a way, makes this transition easier. I have my own way of doing things: It is to empower you, the laity to do the work God is asking you to do, which is to work for God’s kingdom.
From the moment I knew I was going to be your priest, I have been praying, thinking and dreaming what can we accomplish together in this parish during my leadership here? It is not clear to me, yet. But what I know is that it has to be something big; it has to be something holy; it has to be something remarkable; something that includes:
- Be a strong multicultural and bilingual parish in this diocese… One parish, speaking more than one language; so, please, no more “Mision latinX;” but one parish, two languages, many people. Anglo, Caribbean, African, Asian, Latino. All followers of Jesus, parishioners of the beloved Episcopal Church of Saint Edwards, loving each other in the love of Christ; supporting one another and being truly witnesses of our faith.
- Be strong in evangelism, no more waiting for people to come, but we need to go out and offer Jesus to the people who are waiting for someone to invite them to do something special with their lives, and that is to follow Jesus in the Episcopal traditions.
- Be strong in children and youth programs; we need to continue working with our youth and children. There is a lot of work to do in this area, without them, there is no future.
- Be a Church that is Prophetic in our words and actions; a church that is not afraid to tell the truth. Be a parish that is not quiet before the injustices and abuses that are happening everywhere and that are stepping on our dignity.
In order to do my work well, dear friends, I need you:
- So please believe in God; but also believe in yourselves. You can do it; we can do it.
- Pray for your parish and for me always.
- Be member, become active. Get involved if you are not already. This parish has very talented people, please get involved in our ministries.
- Come to church as often as you can. Weekly is what we are called to do.
- Financial support. Pledge sacrificially. We need to strengthen your common house, your church, your house of prayer. I know that financially we can do better than what we are doing right now.
I will meet soon with the vestry to set some goals for this year, and we will let you know what these goals are.
Jesus, in the gospel of Matthew that we read Sunday morning, when he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew to Galilee, to begin his public ministry; it is marking a new beginning in his life. I also hope that today it is a new begining in our parish and spirituality to join Jesus proclaiming with words and actions that the Kingdom of God has come near… that is, it is about time to proclaim that Jesus is present in our lives, it is time to heal, to empower, to make disciples in the name of God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.