July will be an emotional month for me for it is a month filled with the grief of goodbye. After eight years at Advent, I will be leaving to begin a new phase in my call at a new congregation. I can’t say it more simply than God called, God nudged, God moved me to move. Below is the letter I sent out to my congregation to share the news. As each week draws me closer to the big goodbye, I find myself more and more laden with the grief of goodbye. I know soon it will be replaced with the excitement and energy of a new start, but until then, I think I will just have to be in all of this, no matter how difficult.
Beloved sisters and brothers in Christ,
When I was young, with just a budding interest in reading the Bible, I often found myself drawn to wisdom literature; particularly, Ecclesiastes. In Ecclesiastes I found a deep well of truth. There was something there that spoke of the current of life – its flow; its constancy; its journey; and, most importantly, its sustenance by our creator God.
In my first years at Advent, I wrote a Godly Play story using the quilted labyrinth sewn by CM. The line that most often stood out to me from that story said something like, “Sometimes, as you travel along, you reach a point in your journey that you think is an end, but it is really just a new turn…” I loved traveling my finger along the labyrinth as I shared with the listeners a story of life’s journey that reflected its many movements, as well as the ever-presence of, and need for, Christ at the center of it all.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…
I write this letter to you to share that I have reached a new turn in my continued call as minister to youth, children, and families. I have accepted the call to serve as the Young Disciples Director at Hope Lutheran Church in Eagle, Idaho.
Time is a gift for us. I will fulfill my commitments, celebrating every moment we share, until my last Sunday with you on July 26. This means I will be present in worship, leading all of the upcoming scheduled events on our youth and family calendar, and; finally, leading Advent’s Rise Up! Group as we journey to Detroit, Michigan for the ELCA Youth Gathering. I will also continue to work closely with leaders as they prepare to move into a discernment period for the future of youth and family ministries at Advent.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God,
who are called according to God’s purpose.
While the prospect of leaving this congregation has left me with a wide range of emotions, I ultimately step forward with a deep faith that this is all part of the Spirit’s ongoing work in the world. I truly believe that as God has called me, God is calling you, the people of Advent Lutheran, to step forward into a new life together.
Yours in Christ,