May 18th, 2021
Dear UCUCC Members and Friends,
On December 1st, 2001, I began my ministry here with University Congregational United Church of Christ. I have loved being your pastor for over nineteen years. Now I am writing to let you know that I will be retiring on November 30th 2021, as I complete twenty years of ministry here.
When I came to this congregation, I already knew of its long history of faithfulness and courage. From living out what it means to be an Open and Affirming congregation, to a willingness to try a less hierarchical leadership structure with Team Ministry, to actively addressing homelessness needs in this region, I already had witnessed this congregation’s passion. I was stepping into the life of a vibrant and bold community.
And now we have been together for almost twenty years. I have delighted in the ways we have imagined, and lived out, love and justice. I have been blessed to lead you in worship, Bible study, Christian formation, social justice action, and congregational care. I have been privileged to walk with you in times of intense sorrow and tremendous joy. It has been delightful having you out to my farm for Apple Day and Lamb Day, for workdays and for retreats, and all the other farm time visits we have had. I appreciate the ways we are currently working to answer the call of Jesus to be a racial justice church, and what we are all learning about what it takes to dismantle a supremacy culture and continue to create a kin-dom culture. Through it all I have watched your big heart grow bigger, your vibrancy shine, and your understanding of walking this Jesus Path deepen.
Over the next seven months, as we conclude our time together, I will continue to be your pastor and leader. Some of that will look the same, as I work with our Love and Justice Outreach ministry and our Calling, Engagement, and Community ministry. I will continue to preach and lead Bible study and participate in other formation opportunities. I will continue to show up at our monthly Common Good vigils. I will continue to care for and pray for you in times of trial and in times of joy.
I also know that some of what I do will be different, as we say goodbye. In this pandemic time when we can’t have large meetings, we will still have a chance for smaller, outdoor gatherings. I will be hosting several on my farm throughout the summer. We will also plan gatherings in Seattle for those who cannot come to the farm. And we will have some Zoom time as well. Details of these plans will be in our church newsletter, on our Facebook page, and in our worship announcements and updates.
On November 30th as I move into retirement and my connection with this congregation in my role as pastor comes to an end, professional ethics require that I cease contact with you for a season. I will not be available in any pastoral role after that date. This is so you all can make room for new connections and for the new work to which you will be called. It also will allow my successor the opportunity to step fully into ministry with you.
I know that God is still speaking to and through this congregation. You have faithful leaders who will guide you as you discern your next steps as a beloved community. You will always be in my heart and in my prayers. I deeply love this congregation and am grateful for our time together. I will miss you.