Tuesday, November 18, 2014

New Roads in God's Journey

Last night I shared with our congregation council news that I had accepted another call and would be ending our time together at Holy Spirit to begin a new call at Christ Lutheran in Conyngham, PA. Below is the letter that I shared with them and which has been mailed out to our members. I ask for your prayers for both congregations and for our family as we move into this new and very exciting time. While I am sad to leave great connections here in Centre Park and in the congregation, our family is also energized by the enthusiasm and joyful spirit of the folks in Conyngham who have embraced us so lovingly.

“I do not cease to give thanks for you when I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in your growing knowledge of him…so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the greatness of his power toward us who believe..” Ephesians 1:16-18


Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

        In 2011, you took a chance on an untested Pastor straight out of seminary. In the years that followed we have shared much together, our joys and sorrows, hopes and fears. I thank God for each of your and for our time together as you have helped me grow. We have celebrated joys, mourned sorrows, and served the gospel together in worship, in fellowship, in our outreach efforts and the very vital afterschool ministry, The Dove’s Nest. You have taught me much and have blessed me by sharing life together. I firmly believe that the quality worship and vital community ministry and outreach must continue and I recognized that to take the long view required evaluating how that might be best accomplished.  

          It is with a mix of joy and sadness that I write to share news that I have accepted another call to serve as Pastor of Christ Lutheran Church, in Conyngham, PA. This has not been an easy decision. Michael and I have been praying and discerning for some time both about the future of Holy Spirit, and our future as well. As we look at the needs of our family and for this congregation, it seemed that it is the right time and right opportunity to relocate. We believe Christ Lutheran is a great fit for the continued development of my gifts and strengths in ministry and offers community and connections for Michael as well. At the same time we pray this transition offers Holy Spirit greater ability to explore and continue in vital partnerships and ministries here.

        With my departure my pastoral relationship with the members of Holy Spirit will come to an end. I treasure the privilege you have given me to serve as your pastor, but upon my departure, those responsibilities will belong to your interim and future leaders. While friendships may continue, it will no longer be appropriate for me to perform pastoral functions within the congregation or for its members. Therefore, however hard it may be, if you ask, I will say No.

This is because I have great respect for the integrity of the congregation and for the ministry of those who will serve you, as well as great love for the church. Sometimes the greatest challenge is to act with ethics rather than emotion but it is necessary for the health of the congregation. For these reasons, I shall decline invitations to preside or assist at weddings, baptisms, funerals or other congregational functions without the approval of the congregation council and bishop. My hope and request is that you as my former parishioners and future friends help me keep a healthy distance from the congregation. On the other hand, I would be honored to be invited as your friend to attend such events.                              
        My last Sunday leading worship as the Pastor of Holy Spirit will be December 28th. Michael, the girls and I then leave for Finland utilizing the last of my unused vacation. My last day of service will be January 10, 2015 as we move and I begin my new call on January 11, 2015.

        It is my hope and prayer that we can share in meaningful celebrations at God’s table, and in heartfelt farewells. In these weeks, I will be visiting our homebound and also putting things in order for the smoothest transition for you. It is also my hope and prayer that as we each respond to God’s call to new journeys that new conversation and opportunities will reveal God’s power and hope and guidance for you.

Yours in Christ, Pastor Carolyn


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