It is with a full heart that I write to share the news that I will be leaving McFarland UCC this fall to serve as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches. I have said to you for some time that I had no plan or intention of leaving unless God's Holy Spirit called me elsewhere. It seems - as we sing in our doxology - 'the Spirit has been moving in my heart,' preparing me for this new ministry.
When I leave, I will continue and broaden the work I have undertaken among you here in McFarland. The common ministry of the Wisconsin Council of Churches focuses on church unity, peacemaking, social and economic justice for Wisconsin's most vulnerable residents, and revitalizing congregations.
I want you to know that serving as your pastor these past seven years has been one of the greatest joys of my life. You have shaped me into the pastor that I am. You opened your hearts, listened to my stories and shared yours with me. There has been laughter, fingerpaint, confetti (ok, lots of confetti), general messiness, and grace for all the times of cleaning up. You allowed me, in so many holy moments, to remind you that you are a beloved child of God.
The months ahead will have time for grief at leavetaking - space for holy tears if you need them - and time for celebrating what we have accomplished in ministry together. I am ready to receive whatever it is you need to express. Know that we will still be pastor and congregation together through October 15th. There will be opportunities to break bread (and run to the communion table), tell stories, sing and make noise, and bless one another. Our building project continues, as does our giving challenge! There are babies being born, new families to welcome into the faith community, and things to learn about our faith every day.
After I leave, the congregation's leadership and representatives from the wider church will guide you through conversations about what's next. I believe, with all my heart, the future of McFarland UCC can be as vibrant as our years together have been. You have all the wisdom and heart of each other, and God's Spirit to lean on.
Christ stands with us at every crossroads. My great hope for these final months together is that we can keep showing up for one another,passionate about our shared ministry, being the real, messy people that we are.
Peace and blessings,
Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the Gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.
- 1 Thessalonians 2:8