b'A VISIT WITH THE RECTORBefore Duane Nettles departed his hometownMany things I didnt have to be busy with of New Orleans and became the new Rectoryet, because the machine just wasnt running. at Grace & Holy Trinity, he already hadI came to believe that every new Rector ought connections and attachments in Virginia.to overlap with the Interim. All he or she has to do is go around and have lunch and coffee The path to here began when I was aand drinks with the members of the congrega-child, he says. My grandparents lovedtion, and get to know them.the mountains of Virginia, and they would put me and my cousins in a travel trailerWhen asked about this tendency to make behind their Suburban and drive up inlemonade from the lemons that land in the the summer to stay in campgrounds inway, he says emphatically that you have toget to that is based on people knowing one the national parks.On those trips I felllook for the advantages to be found in anyanother. Thats where the sense of welcome in love with the beauty of the state. Aftersituation. Life is full of things you cant do,comes from. You begin opening up and the heartache and labor that followedhe says, but you have to focus on what yousharing real things about your life, and that Hurricane Katrina, a priest suggested thatcan do. He smiles, and quotes Desmondgives meaning to your prayer and opens real Duane come up to spend some restorativeTutu: The only way to eat an elephant isconversations about the scripture, about what time at Richmond Hill, and he rested thereone bite at a time. you believe, and what it means.on three occasions, sitting in the sunroom, looking over Shockoe Bottom and the CityFrom the beginning, he recognized that GraceHe also has experience with how church to the west beyond. & Holy Trinity was looking for a focused effortand state can form connections that have on Christian formation, particularly for youngnothing to do with politics, and everything Then six years ago, when GHTCs Assis- families. On his first Easter Sunday morningto do with civic responsibility. I believe tant Rector Kim Reinholz was expecting ain the church, of the 125 or so people inthat there are two institutions ordained by baby and not traveling, the mission trip toattendance, a quarter of them were childrenGod, he says, The government is Gods Belize needed a chaplain in tow. Because heyounger than eight. The flowering of thehand of justice, and the church is Gods hand had several families among his Louisianacross took eight stanzas! It was wonderful.of mercy. They work together. Duane has congregants who had emigrated from Belize,Right off the bat, he said to himself, We dontseen that although three quarters of GHTCs his name came up, and off he went. Hishave a children and youth issuewe have amembership lives outside of Fan, what draws two years with the Belize mission team werechildren and youth ministry issue. them back into the center is the good we can fruitful, and when this churchs search fordo in and for the City of Richmond. The a new Rector began, some of that teamThe vestry agreed, and Kyle Bomar and Katechurch is a connector, he says, and lots of suggested he apply. Given joined the staff. They were chosen inyoung families want that connection. Its a part for the warmth and joy they bring toreal opportunity for us. When he arrived to begin his ministry here,their work.Its clear that Duane is a warm things were far from ordinary. COVID hadand joyful person himself. Over and over,He sees that strengthening the community done away with in-person services, and hewhen parishioners are asked what they thinkof this church is how we feed and condition began by preaching to an empty church.of having him as Rector, they remark on hisourselves as the body of Christ, and builds Characteristically, rather than seeing thiswarmth, his good humor, and the joy hethe energy and stamina to serve our purpose as a stumbling block, he embraced whatbrings to this work we ask him to do. Hein the world beyond it. Every day, respecting he could do with it. The great gift to memeans to bring people together, in every sensethe dignity and humanity that informs the was that all I could do was meet my newof that word. The main purpose of church isEpiscopal tradition, we take another bite out congregation one or two at a time, he says.the worship of God, he says, but how youof the elephant.Ann Norvell GrayANNUAL REPORT | 3'