A Bittersweet Farewell to The Rev. Paul Frolick
In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul writes, “I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers.” Ephesians 1:15-16.
That’s a close reflection of my thoughts of Rev. Paul Frolick, in my encounters with him over the past ten years. I knew Paul, first as a gifted musician, then as a trusted and dependable priest in our Church, and for the last few years as an immensely gifted leader with the heart of a servant in our Diocese. When he was Ordained and was ready to take a first Cure, we presented St. George’s in Hilton as a possibility, because they were just completing their strategic plan with some clarity around who they were and where they wanted to go as an Episcopal expression of Christ Jesus in Hilton. He thought about it, listened deeply with them, prayed about it and said YES! That was one of the most significant decisions he made. He took on the challenge of helping lead and accompany a congregation from the brink of closure by jumping with both feet.
Five years later, St. George exemplifies the grit, resilience and grace of an intentional “small congregation” that is on the path to becoming a thriving congregation in the village of Hilton and in our Diocese. All the indications point to this trajectory and by the grace of God, we will ensure that this is indeed the case. With Paul’s leadership, they have doubled their Sunday attendance, increased their missional engagement in the community and have more than doubled their financial stewardship to sustain the mission of Christ. A true story of resurrection!
It is because of this incredible story of a congregation’s resurrection that Paul was drawn to exploring the concept of a College for Congregational Development to create a formation of leaders in congregational teams. It led to his ground work of developing a team to do the necessary work that brought to fruition the first College to our Diocese modeled after the one in the Diocese of Olympia. We launched the College last July primarily due to Paul’s leadership. The college ran to capacity last year and is scheduled to do the same this year and we hope for years to come.
Paul’s departure from the Diocese is bittersweet in that we will miss his presence and his radiant and infectious smile on a regular basis. I will personally miss a reliable leader and a good friend. However, we know that we empower and build each other up to be in service to the mission of Christ, which is what he is being called to develop further at St. Matthew’s in Liverpool! They are truly blessed to have him in the Diocese of Central New York.
Thanks to the emerging partnership with Bishop DeDe in the Diocese of CNY, Paul will continue to serve as the Coordinator of the College. He will, however, not be leading the Deputies to General Convention this July since he will transfer his canonical residence to CNY. He will make the transition to Liverpool, NY in April.
We wish Paul Godspeed and look to serving Christ with him. It is, after all, a small Church!
With our sincere prayers for St. George’s, St. Matthew’s and both Dioceses.
Your servant in Christ,