My dear friends at St. Paul, Arlington,

I can’t believe it has been twelve years since I served as Vicar at St. Paul. It’s no exaggeration to say that I think of you and the lessons I learned at St. Paul every day of my ministry. In so many ways you taught me to be a pastor. You affirmed my gifts and you lovingly corrected me when I needed it. You downloaded your wisdom into my heart and mind, and I continue to benefit from the many gifts you entrusted to me.

You welcomed my wife, Jenny, who is Jewish, and creatively fashioned a position for her to serve St. Paul as the coordinator of Christian Education. You helped us celebrate the birth of our first daughter, Ellie, who was baptized at St. Paul. She is now in seventh grade.

Now twelve years, four kids, and two churches later, I am currently serving in team ministry—something I learned well from Ross and Susan Henry—at Upper Dublin Lutheran Church, just north of Philadelphia. Over the last several years I have also written two books, Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible and The Digital Cathedral: Networked Ministry in a Wireless World about the ways our digitally networked world is rewiring religious practice, belief, and belonging. Now more than ever it is essential that we bear witness to the Gospel—the grace and love of God in Christ—across our social networks, in particular our digital networks like Facebook, blogs, YouTube, and beyond.

And so, I congratulate you on the launch of your new website this month! Not only are church websites the new front door of our congregations, with social media they have become the new narthex, where people meet and connect with us before they ever walk into our buildings. I am personally grateful for your digital ministry as I follow St. Paul on Facebook and subscribe to your email list. It helps me feel connected to the great ministry you continue to offer to your members and the surrounding community.

I cannot say enough how grateful I am for my time at St. Paul, and for Ross, Susan, and the many lay leaders that helped shape my faith and form my pastoral identity. As the original St. Paul wrote to the Philippians, so I say to you: “I thank my God every time I remember you.” You are in my heart.

The Rev. Keith Anderson

Vicar at St. Paul, Arlington 2002-2003