The past four years of ministry here with you have been an amazing journey. You have extended unfailing generosity, tenderness, and grace to me and I am grateful. I could not have imagined a more loving church for my first call as a teaching elder. It has been a blessing to serve as your pastor.
With great sadness, I am resigning as your temporary supply pastor effective June 30, 2015. My final Sunday in the pulpit will be June 21st.
You may be surprised by this decision. Frankly, I did not expect to be sitting here today. I had every intention of being with you at least through the end of 2015.
I know it sounds like a political cliché to say that I am resigning to spend more time with my family, but it is true. Over the summer, I will be doing the tough work of getting our house ready to sell so we can respond quickly to looming changes for our family. Over the past few months, I have prayerfully wrestled with this decision, and I am certain that God is calling me to focus on family transitions, at least for now.
I do not know exactly where or how God will call me in future ministry. I will continue working with the Unglued Church project, as well as in mission, peacemaking, racial justice and reconciliation, and, more broadly, helping with the on-going discernment of how God is calling our denomination into the future. I do not know if I will receive a call to parish ministry, or if I will serve the Church in some other capacity. I will continue praying for clarity in how I may best use my gifts for the sake of the Gospel.
Over the past year, we have shared as a congregation the incredibly hard work of discerning how God is calling Emsworth U.P. into the future. I know it’s been difficult. I truly believe, however, that you have every tool you need to make a faithful decision about the future of this church, and that the work need not slow down when I leave you.
As I have said from the very first day I arrived at Emsworth U.P. more than four years ago, the mission of this church isn’t about the pastor or her vision. It is about your sense of who God is calling you to be and how you will faithfully participate in the mission of Jesus Christ in this community.
You should also know that Rev. Sarah Robbins will serve as moderator of the session, and will continue working with you to provide the support and resources you need to carry out the decisions you make as a congregation.
Okay. Here’s another cliché that happens to be true. This church will always be in my heart. As long as I am in Pittsburgh, I look forward to seeing many of you at presbytery meetings, branch gatherings, committee meetings, and other gatherings of our close-knit Presbyterian family.
My deepest prayer is that you will not treat my departure as a reason to abandon the work you’ve been doing to move into God’s future for this church. You can depend upon the faithfulness of God and the love you have for one another. Each one of you will be in my prayers, just as I’ve prayed for you every day for the past four years. I can’t wait to hear how Jesus continues to live and work through you.
After June 21st, this blog will largely inactive, although I will leave it up as a resource for the church and your next pastor. Otherwise, I encourage you to visit Emsworth U.P.’s brand new website at http://emsworthupchurch.org
With love and gratitude,