“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1
Twenty-two years ago, I joyfully began my time on staff here at UCUCC. I have been blessed to serve God with you in this way and am grateful beyond words. And now, I am being called into retirement. I plan to retire in about six months. Sunday, February 2 will be my last day here.
UCUCC is in a time of change and transition in staff leadership, and I hope this timing gives an opportunity for exploration and intentional decisions about this position while other considerations are also being made. For myself, the time ahead after February will include down-time and reflection, discernment for next steps in retirement, and focus on some ongoing health issues.
This is a busy, engaged, and faithful congregation, and we have done much together these last 22 years. We’ve listened to God’s call and responded in a variety of ways with action, care, and commitment. With your generosity, we’ve moved through capital campaigns and building projects that allow this building to continue to be an instrument of mission and service. We’ve implemented and balanced budgets for ministry through care, reflection, and prompts from God about the greater good. But really, the budgets are just indicators of the stories of faithful response being carried out in an infinite number of ways.
And more….we’ve had times of deep loss and pain, and found ourselves held in God’s loving care and surrounded by the love and support of so many others in this community. We’ve celebrated significant accomplishments, knowing that God’s prompting and undergirding brought us along. We’ve moved through staff and other leadership changes, celebrating the gifts, work and passion of those with whom we’ve shared the journey. We’ve worked, cried, loved, prayed, laughed, and played together. I’m grateful for the ways I could be leader, collaborator, administrator, and supporter. We’ve been a faithful community of love and grace. Bless you.
And this community will continue to be one of care, love, commitment, and justice. I’ll look forward to the next steps in the process for this position, and will be glad to help in the transition in all the ways possible and appropriate. Professional ethics require that I cease contact with the congregation upon my leaving in order to allow my successor the opportunity to fully step into the role. I have full faith that God is with you, and that your remarkable and faithful ministry will continue. And we will have time in the months ahead for reflection, thanks, and transition.
Thank you for the care, the love, the corrections, the laughter and work, and for being on the journey together. You have been a blessing, and will continue to be so.