Last Sunday was my last Sunday in CAYA. Today was my last day in the office. I am no longer the associate pastor of Decatur First United Methodist Church.
Transitions are hard. Even when you're excited about what lies ahead, there's change and uncertainty and nervousness. And then of course, there's the sadness of what you're leaving behind. Things that you helped start or helped grow. People that have touched and changed your life. Experiences, opportunities, laughter, grief, beginnings, endings.
My time at Decatur First has meant the world to me. As I was starting out in ministry, you gave me a place to learn and experiment and succeed and fail. You gave me love and support and feedback and challenge. And you allowed me to share some of the most pivotal and vulnerable parts of your lives - births, deaths, marriages, divorces, illness, new jobs, unemployment, questions, struggles. I am deeply honored for all that you entrusted me with.
Even in my sadness at leaving, I'm so excited for the next phase in my ministry, but also in yours! As the church continues to live into its story, as you connect with one another, as you continue to discover your gifts and how to use them to connect people with the unconditional love of God, know that my prayers are going with you. I know the Holy Spirit will be working powerfully in and through you.
I am also so excited that Patrick Faulhaber is joining the Decatur First family. I know you will welcome, nurture, and support him, just as you did for me. And I know he will be a gifted pastor for you. (And if you missed the video introduction of Patrick, you can find it here).
Really, I just want to say thank you. Thank you for the lovely send-off, the cards and letters, the beautiful scrapbook, and the generous love offering. But mostly thank you for the ways that you have nurtured me, cared for me, challenged me, taught me, prayed for me, and loved me. Thank you for your ministry in my life as well as in this community. Thank you for trusting me enough to Come As You Are and for allowing me to Come As I Am.
Thank you for letting me be your pastor.
With love and prayers,
P.S. Don't forget that this Sunday (June 19) is a unified worship service at 11am in the main church Sanctuary (at Ponce and Commerce) featuring the youth choir and an introduction for Patrick, with a reception to follow. Then the next Sunday (June 26) will be Patrick's first Sunday in CAYA! Don't miss it!