It has been my very great privilege to serve these last five years as the Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Middletown. I am so gratified by the journey we have taken together and blessed to have been witness to your faithfulness and courage in the process of “rebooting”.
Today at our worship service I announced that, effective July 1, it is the intention of Bishop Jane Allen Middleton to appoint me to First United Methodist Church in Amityville, New York. Effective that same date she will appoint a new person to pastor this congregation. Please know that I am excited for me and I am also very excited for you.
The strength and genius of the Methodist itinerant system is the ability to put the right people in the right places at the right time. Given our dramatically altered circumstances here in Middletown it makes perfect sense that this charge now calls for different skills. I am confident that a remarkable person will be appointed here bringing the gifts and graces necessary to help lead this congregation towards our vision for the future. I believe, and I hope you do too, that I was the right person five years ago when I was first appointed here for that moment in the life of this church. I also believe, and I hope you will too, that the right person for this new moment will be appointed here now.
Let me address how that process will unfold. Soon our District Superintendent, the Rev. Ken Kieffer [who has been with us for untold number of charge conferences and meetings over the last few years], will meet with our Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee [SPPR] to consult about the needs of the congregation given our short-term and long-term goals. Then Rev. Kieffer will bring that information to Bishop Middleton and the Cabinet of the New York Annual Conference. As they assess the needs of congregations across the conference and the talents of its pastors they will be able to identify the person best equipped to lead the congregation into the future you envision. SPPR will be introduced to that person by Rev. Kieffer. Then an announcement about the appointment will be made on a Sunday morning. Let me say now that whomever that person turns out to be, they will indeed be very blessed. If you have questions about the process and the transition you can speak to Shirley Lawrence, Chair of SPPR. Her phone number is 860-347-9687 and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
As I said, all of this is effective July 1. I am still your pastor until then and we still have lots of work to do. We have money to raise for Imagine No Malaria, we have to work towards a solution for office and meeting space and the Gospel still needs to be proclaimed. I am looking forward to preaching the sermon series “Who is Jesus and Why Does He Matter?” during Lent. We will be plenty busy these next few months and this is not yet the time for goodbyes.
As always, in hope and confidence,
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