Christ Episcopal Church celebrated the retirement of Rev. Richard Westbury Jr. at a ceremony held in the chapel on Friday, April 6.
Friends and colleagues Rev. Samuel Johnson, Wayne Galloway, Rev. Bob Morris and Rev. George Dibrell Young spoke at the special service in Ponte Vedra Beach.
"You really can't capture all that we've had together tonight," Westbury said at the ceremony. "I appreciate all the nice things [other speakers] said but for me what's most important is what we find in community with each other."
Westbury, who served as rector's associate in 2001 and rector since 2005, has transitioned to an advisory role, according to the Christ Episcopal Church website. In his speech, the reverend said he leaned on other members of his congregation over the years for support.
"When we come out of seminary, we're not prepared for all the things we're supposed to be able to do as rectors," he said. "It was wonderful to have people who – many of you tonight –stepped up and really complimented my weaknesses with your strengths. That idea of shared ministry, collaborating together, leaning on each other, encouraging each other, that was all born out of the fact that you were doing that for me."
Westbury also said Christ Church members loved and encouraged his family in many ways. The reverend noted the church has developed a trusting relationship amongst the congregation, and that creating a "safe place" for people to be open and honest with each other is prudent.
"God can use that to do extraordinary things," Westbury said. "And God has here at Christ Church over the years."
Additionally, Westbury thanked his wife Carol and told a story about how he got a job as rector at St. Paul’s by-the-Sea entirely because of her.
Following Westbury's speech, the church announced the Parish Hall would be renamed the Westbury Parish Center in honor of Rick and Carol.
Christ Church is located at 400 San Juan Drive in Ponte Vedra Beach. For more information, visit www.christepiscopalchurch.org.