a word of clarification...


So many of you have written to me since my letter of intent to retire earlier this week that I found it vital to be back in touch. Your words have touched my heart and I am grateful. I thought that I was thorough in sharing my reasons, but apparently I left out some of the specifics for our immediate future. In the weeks to come, our Church Council will be sharing with you new insights and plans about ministry and mission at First Church in 2017.  But until those updates, let me offer these clarifying insights:

+ Since my return from sabbatical 18 months ago, Council leadership and I have been in discussion about ways to focus our ministries in ways that strengthen the community and work towards a balanced budget. After a series of house meetings this summer, an ad hoc renewal team was empowered to bring suggestions to Council.  They reported out this past week to Council and soon Council will wrestle with their insights.

+ One that impacts me most clearly is the option to work part-time after our annual meeting in late January 2017. While the terms are still to be negotiated, it will likely be 20 hours per week. This is a bold change from my current call agreement and also represents a serious alteration in compensation and benefits package. So, in order to move enthusiastically into this new ministry, I must find additional compensation.  My plan includes accessing my annuity , and, thus, retirement. In order to satisfy all the administrative entities - including our own call agreement, I must give the required 90 days notice to be in good shape for February 2017.

+ After our annual meeting - where a new budget and mission focus will be fully articulated - my new ministry will begin with an emphasis on worship and pastoral care. At 20 hours per week, this will also give me time to make creative music in pursuit of peace and do the writing I have wanted to work on re: a spirituality of tenderness in harsh and violent times. Again, details are still to be fleshed out, and there is no clear time table re: how long the Spirit will call us into this arrangement. But clearly for the foreseeable future I will be serving as your part-time minister after the start of the New Year. Only after this time of transition will Di and I explore being in Canada.

There is a GREAT deal more to be shared and I trust that Council leadership will be able to update you regularly on the work that is being done in the aftermath of our cottage meetings.. This is a creative and exciting time at First Church so please stay tuned and stay prayerful. 

With great affection and gratitude,

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