On Sunday March 16th, I announced that I will be retiring effective June 30, 2014. As Rick and I looked at our future and I prayed about the future of this congregation, I felt more and more that God was leading me to retire this year. I want to assure everyone that I am fine and that I did not make this decision for health reasons.
Like many of you, my life has been strongly influenced by the faith of hundreds of people I have known and I have been gifted by their wisdom and their love for God. I have seen many people take on tasks for the future of the church out of joy, and a determination that the young ones who come after us will also have places of acceptance, faith, and hope for their lives.
For almost 40 years, I have been associated in one way or another with this congregation, first as a lay person and for the last four years of my 20 years in ministry, as your clergy. I am awed by the stories I have heard and the stories I have been a part of here. As a lay person, our past pastors, Stan Culy, Bing Scherer, and Don Kellogg, mentored my faith and gave me the examples of sacrificial discipleship which time and again I have gone back to as foundational examples for my life. I am deeply thankful to each of them, and to Donald Jones who was pastor of First UMC in Framingham when I was growing up. Rev. Jones was willing to take on the issues of social justice during the 1960’s, at a critical time in our nation’s history, when we struggled with the war in Viet Nam and the recognition of the social injustices perpetuated by racism in our country. The ministries of these clergy and lay people have been founded on their core belief in God and a commitment to make a difference in God’s world.
The anticipation of change is both exciting and challenging for all of us. During the next couple of weeks, our District Superintendent will be meeting with our Staff/Parish Committee to look at our church profile. This is an opportunity for us to evaluate our vision of ministry here and see how both lay and clergy can offer the most joyful and effective signs of Christ in ministry together. As your new pastor comes on board July 1st, a wonderful chapter of life here at W. Springfield U.M.C. begins. Staff/Parish is happy to answer questions about the changes ahead.
We have a busy spring together and EASTER JOY is ours this and every day.
Be Blessed in Christ my friends,