As many of you know, on this past Sunday I announced my retirement as of June 30, 2023. I know it comes as no great surprise; with Michael retiring at the end of 2022 and the fact that I hit the classic retirement age (65) last year, I’m ready for this new season of life.
It is bittersweet, however. You are an amazing sisters and brothers in Christ and are very dear to my heart. We have worshipped together, prayed together, served together and occasionally butted heads together — and it has been a great joy to serve as your pastor for almost 10 years. It will be hard to say goodbye.
But change also provides opportunities for transformation and new growth. Change allows us to exercise those virtues of patience and hospitality and kindness and generosity and hopefulness which are so basic to the practice of the Christian faith. I am confident that as we work through this time of change together, it will be bear much fruit for the coming years that you will share with a new pastor.
David Shafer, chairperson of the SPRC, asked to write just a bit about what will happen next:
Remember that in the United Methodist Church prayer and discernment are the basis for pastoral appointments made according to the mission of the church. This discernment process has multiple partners: (1) the Bishop, (2) the Cabinet (composed of all of the Conference Superintendents including the one for our Southeast District, Rev. InSuk Peebles, and (3) the Staff-Parish Relations Committee on behalf of the church.
- The Staff-Parish Committee will complete a form called the Pastoral Consultation Form which has lots of information about the church and the community for the Bishop and Cabinet to have as they consider who would be the best pastor to be appointed to serve here. Pastors in the UMC are appointed by the Bishop after consultation with the congregation about the kinds of gifts and skills needed in a pastor.
- A copy of the Consultation Form will be available and anyone can offer information to the SPRC that you believe will be helpful in completing the form. Members of the SPRC are: David Shaffer, Jan Greenlee, Susan Barnes, Dick Young, Collie Rees, Nancy Manning, Jack Wescott and Denny Kubal.
- With prayer and discernment the Cabinet and the Bishop will consider the best person they have available to appoint here. That person will be introduced to the Staff-Parish Relations Committee which acts on behalf of the church. Hopefully, that interview will go well for both the church and the pastor and the appointment will be made effective July 1, 2023.
If you have any questions about the process, feel free to talk with any member of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee. I am, of course, happy to answer questions about how the process works, but you should talk with committee members about your hopes and dreams for the next chapter in the ministry of NUMC.
Thank you so much for your patience, your encouragement and your love!
Grace and peace,