In my denomination we coalesce into what are defined as annual conferences. Annually the pastors and lay representatives from each congregation gathers to discuss the business of the annual conference. It is a 72 hour agenda that is packed with reports, voting, retirements, commissioning, ordination, worship, discussion, and learning. Each year I learn something new or experience something fresh from God and this year was no exception. The new for me and other of my colleagues is the appointment to a different congregation. The very last act of annual conference is the fixing of the appointments by the presiding episcopal leader. Bishop Schnase and the cabinet of the Missouri Annual Conference fixed the appointment for several of us including me – St. John’s United Methodist Church on 69th and Ward Parkway beginning June 30th.
I could say a lot of things because the emotions are broad and deep but I want to give deference to the people I love and have served with for the last 5 years.
North Star Church has been gracious, accepting, and even forgiving. By no means I have done everything right or perfectly – I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. God’s grace and the forgiveness of his people has been evident and I pray will continue to be so. And I hope by the grace of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit that I have in some small way managed to foster the emerging of God’s preferred future for North Star. Only time will tell. I am confident that the Bishop and cabinet have discerned wisely my successor – from what I know of Tony I envision further kingdom work in the areas that are emerging now and in new areas as well. He will continue visionary leadership through this time of transition and I believe that North Star will emerge healthier, stronger, and more vital than ever before. And so with this belief in my heart and this prayer on my lips I say farewell dear friends. “Till we meet again.”
To my soon to be friends at St. John’s I say hello! I am looking forward to standing in the tradition of dynamic and visionary leadership that has been your history. I not only intend to carry on the good work of my predecessors but also to look for new ways in which we can engage the people who live within a mile of St. John’s. I want them to see and know that St. John’s is a neighbor who truly cares! I hope you will join me on this journey as we reach upward for God, inward to our community, and outward to people who need to hear the Good News!
And so I bid farewell to North Star and say hello to St. John’s.
Blessings for the journey.