Dear Friends, ‘
Since I will be sending out a special Easter message in a special mailing, I want to focus this pastoral letter on the recent announcement that I have accepted an appointment to the New Covenant United Methodist Church in East Hartford, CT., effective July 1. Many of you are already aware of this announcement, but no doubt there are others who are hearing about it for the first time here in this newsletter. In either case, I wanted to share a few thoughts about my impending transfer.
Here is the primary thing that I want my beloved church family to understand. This de- cision is in no way prompted by anything that has happened to me or my family during our time here at FUMC, or by any concerns I might have about FUMC’s future, or by any sense that FUMC is anything but a great church with a great future ahead of it. You all have been no less than loving and supportive of me and my family from the moment we arrived here nearly four years ago. This church is gifted with many committed followers of Jesus, and many leaders who give so much of themselves. It is involved in vital and important ministry in our region. The presence of so many retired clergy in the congregation is a wonderful resource that any intelligent pastor would give his or her eye teeth to have at their disposal. In many ways, it has been a dream church to serve.
So why, then, did I accept an appointment to another church? The simplest answer is that as time has gone by, I have experienced a growing desire to get back to a more urban en- vironment. I recognize that for many people, living in the Lakes Region is like heaven and earth. To be sure, it has much to offer in terms of natural beauty and opportunities for enjoy- ing the great outdoors. But as a city guy, I found myself longing for a busier, more crowded, more diverse environment in which to live and to serve. As I neared my 60th birthday I began to see that if there was ever a time for me to respond to that longing, it needed to be now. And so I shared with my district superintendent that if a church in a more urban setting be- came available I would be open to hearing about it. When the opportunity to serve in East Hartford was presented to me, it felt right, and so, with no small amount of bittersweet feel- ings, I said yes to this new appointment.
And so, we are in transition—the church, yes, but also me and my family, as well as the pastor who will replace me and his family and the church he is serving. I invite you to join me in praying for all of us—pray that as we experience all the various feelings and uncertainties that come with this sort of transition, we would be open to the ways our unchanging God is present for us on the journey. We have these next few months together to share with each other, to say goodbye properly, to prepare to receive a pastor, and, lest we forget, to continue to be co-creators with God, as together we build an Evergreen community of faith, where people are invited to experience spiritual, emotional, and physical vitality in all stages of life.
Grace and peace,