To the Vergennes Church Family,
Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ. I hope you and your family are stying well and safe.
I have an important update in the life of our church to share with you.
Earlier this month, I shared with the Vision Leadership Team that I will be finishing my tenure as the pastor of Vergennes Church at the conclusion of this appointment year, which is June 30th.
Three years ago, I said yes to the bishop appointing me to be the pastor at Vergennes because of my love for ministry and for the church, and I’ve tried to fulfill the role and calling of pastor here at Vergennes in the best way that I know how. Through this process, I’ve been discerning if serving as the solo pastor of a local congregation is the right environment of ministry for me. In many ways, it has been great. And, I believe that it was absolutely right, and even God-ordained for me to be here for this season. But ultimately, these years have also revealed to me how the calling isn’t quite right, and this isn’t the right environment of ministry.
As I reflect on the last few years, I’ve realized that the joy of ministry hasn’t been there. Certainly, this past year has been very, very tough for all of us. However, even before we entered a pandemic year, I have found pastoral ministry to be very lonely work. That has worn on me. This is why I’ve discerned that this is the right moment to step back from my role as pastor here, both for me to figure out the right path of ministry for me, and to make room for the next pastor at Vergennes.
I want you all to know that I believe wholeheartedly that Vergennes is a wonderful church. That’s what has made this such a difficult discernment process. I am very hopeful for the future of Vergennes, and I am excited for the next pastor of this church. They will get to lead a church that is supportive, genuine, loves well, and is committed to Jesus and the mission to make disciples who grow in knowing, loving, and serving him..
Although we do not yet know who the next pastor of Vergennes will be, we know that Vergennes will not go without a pastor. In the United Methodist Church pastors are appointed by the bishop, and appointments are set every year to begin July 1st. The cabinet of the Michigan Conference is currently working on setting appointments for the coming year, and they are working with our leadership team to discern the right person to be the next pastor at Vergennes. At this point, we don’t know who that will be, but once we do, we will announce this to the church and begin to prepare for the transition in earnest. My guess is that we will know the next pastor by the end of February, March at the latest.
I know that you may have other questions for me, and about what this means for Vergennes. First and foremost, I want you to know that my door is open, and I’m happy to schedule a time to sit down with you (whether in-person or electronically) to answer any of your questions. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, the Vision Leadership Team is hosting three Q/A sessions this coming Sunday, February 7th: two in-person options immediately following our Sunday morning worship services (9a & 11a), and one virtual option at 3pm over Zoom (https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81853243774?pwd=R0Q2SWZOS0RoMDFvQW96VDFYZnhHdz09). Anyone is welcome to attend. Lastly, you can also reach out to any of the Vision Leadership Team members directly with any questions.
As we have been remembering in our current message series, the author of Ecclesiastes reminds us that there is a time and a season for everything: a time for crying and a time for laughing, a time for mourning and a time for dancing. In 178 years of ministry, Vergennes has had many seasons that have come and gone, including many pastors. This year will be another season of transition, where we will have time to celebrate, to grieve, and to say goodbye. This year will also include a season to welcome a new pastor, and to celebrate the beginning of another chapter of ministry at Vergennes Church. Thankfully, each of these seasons don’t happen all at once; we need only to take the step that is right in front of us.
I am looking forward to finishing this season well as your pastor.
Grace and Peace,