New beginnings, hard endings

A few months ago a friend of mine sent me a message, “OK… it’s Saturday night and I have planned your future!”  Sometimes God’s call comes in the midst of silent prayer.  Sometimes God’s call comes during vibrant worship.  And sometimes, apparently, God’s call comes through Facebook Messenger.  Or at least it starts there.FullSizeRender (2)

In the months since my friend first opened my eyes to the ministries and disciples of Fox Valley Presbyterian Church in Geneva, Illinois and urged me to pay attention to what the Holy Spirit might be up to, I have spent a lot of time learning and praying about our potential future together. I had multiple conversations with their Pastor Nominating Committee, and last weekend after preaching and worshiping together, the congregation called me to be their next pastor. I could not be more certain that God has brought us together to grow in faith as disciples of Jesus.

As excited as I am for what God has in store next for my family and me, a new call also means my current call is coming to an end.  Whoa boy, is there all sorts of stuff wrapped up in that reality!  It means leaving people I love deeply in the church and the community.  It means wondering if my ministry was faithful.  It means worrying about things left undone.  It means trying to make sure I see friends and colleagues one more time before I go. It means remembering all the passwords and account numbers that need to be passed on.  It means memories upon memories come flooding back every time I enter a name into a email “To:” box or see it typed in the bulletin.  It means committee meetings and fellowship events, funerals and weddings replay themselves in my mind when I hear a voice on the phone or in the hall.

I have served First Presbyterian Church of Hudson, Wisconsin for almost 9 years, and we have shared a lot of our lives together.  I will forever be grateful to God for this church and the ministry we carried out together.  I am grateful for the ways they let me experiment.  I am grateful for the opportunity to find my preaching voice.  I am grateful for the leaders who were willing to listen for God’s call and try new things.  I am grateful for the way I was welcomed into tender moments at the beginnings and endings of lives, times of joy and celebration and times of great anxiety and worry.  I am grateful for the gifted staff friends I have worked with over the years.   I am grateful for the space and forgiveness and opportunities that have been granted to me as I have grown and changed as a leader.

The next five weeks are going to be full of the stuff of transitions. My last Sunday at First Presbyterian Church will Oct. 2 and my last day in the office will be Oct. 7.  I will begin my new call at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church on Oct. 27, with my first Sunday preaching on Oct. 30.  In the middle I’m hopeful that our whole family will be able to make the move to the Fox Valley area at the same time.  (If you know someone looking for a house in Hudson, WI, go head and point them in this direction!)  In the meantime, my personality type is one that tends to look toward the future and what is next, so I am going to be working consciously to stay present in the now.  I want to end well to honor these holy relationships and this wonderful call with which God has blessed me.





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