You know how it is when you take on a do-it-yourself project and you sail along pretty well until you reach a part of the job that stumps you? When we find ourselves in this spot we have two choices.
First, we can continue the job and risk the whole project.
Second, we can identify our limits and ask another professional to manage the next steps allowing the project to continue smoothly.
There is a saying in developmental ministry, "A good minister knows when to leave." A developmental minister arrives to support the congregation to move toward health. The developmental minister knows that while doing that work there will be some peaks and valleys in their relation to the congregation.
I'm proud of where the congregation will be in 2017 when I leave, compared to when I arrived in 2013. Many have observed the same. Just as in the do-it-yourself project I mentioned above, I know when my capacity to do the work is done and when it is time for you to invite another colleague to move the congregation on the next leg of the journey.
I know the announcement of my departure might have been surprising, disappointing, and -- for some -- a relief. All of these reactions are valid. All love this congregation.
I'm not going to leave this congregation feeling upset. Truth be told I expected to move toward settled ministry, but it wasn't in the cards. Although I worry about some voices capturing the congregation, I know that your next minister will pick up where I've left off in helping some in understanding being in relationship with ministers. I know I've learned a lot about being in relationship with a congregation. That said, it's important to remember the strength of this congregation, the good work of this congregation, and the deep connections within this congregation. No matter who your minister is, this congregation has the grit and vision to be a strong presence and a place for all to commit themselves to reason, justice and compassion.
I ask you to remember why you are part of this beloved community. I love serving this congregation and will always hold up how amazing the people in this congregation are. I'm truly blessed to have had your care and this experience. We have shared so many laughs, tender moments, and truly walked together. We are forever connected and I am grateful.