Change is in the air. The days are finally getting longer. The Season of Christmas will soon be over. And at the end of January I will end my time as Pastor of the congregation. It is indeed a time of change. It has been over ten years since I began a temporary pastoral ministry with you, which turned into an installed pastorate several years later. Ten years of joys and sorrows, laughter and tears. I have been blessed beyond measure by your love and faithfulness to God. I know that God has amazing and wonderful things in store for you as a congregation, as well as for me & Mark, and I look forward to how our futures will unfold. We are both embarking on a season of change.
Change is nothing new to God’s people. We come from a long line of faithful servants who not only experienced change – but embraced it. Change can bring new insight and new ideas. Change can bring new opportunities. Change can bring new energy – something I witnessed as I began my ministry with you in 2010. This congregation was ready and willing to embrace and step into a new season of their life together.
And we traditionally mark changes with celebrations, prayerful thanks-giving to God, and lots of cake. My Pastoral transition will include all three – and I invite you to join me for either or both of the two socially-distanced celebrations planned for the weekend of January 30th & 31st. Or feel free to contact me to set up a time for us to talk by phone, or Zoom before I leave. I would like that!
Transitions are marked by both endings and beginnings. As I end my pastorate, you will soon welcome a new part-time pastor to share the ministry of this congregation with you. When you do – do so in the same loving and caring way you welcomed me in 2010! Be yourself. Tell stories. Turn to him/her for pastoral care, for prayer, and for rejoicing together. Serve the community in compassion alongside your new pastor.
Northwest Coast Presbytery has a very clear policy for former pastors and the congregation they are leaving. Simply put, while we can stay in touch on Facebook, through Christmas cards, or when we meet by chance in the grocery store - we do not talk church. That part of our life together will end on January 31st. You will soon have a new pastor, and that will be their role. This is a familiar transition for most of you, and you navigated it well when Pastor Kevin left and I arrived. Please know that you will always be in my prayers, and I will look upon this time with you as one of the highlights of my ministry.
Change is in the air. And we have a choice – do we embrace the good gifts change will bring? I pray that we will, with joy and thanksgiving in Christ.