March 2014

Dear Ones,

Many ask me if Richard, my husband, is happy in our Congregation and if he is happy in South Florida. I feel I can confidently answer these questions for him because we, too, ask one another the same.

The answer is yes. We are both loving the connections and relationships we are making with this generous Congregation. It's true. You are generous. You take very good care of us and each other. We know and feel a circle of support around us. We both talk about the paradise factor of South Florida, which for us has been simply divine.

So back to Richard. I have been working in congregations for 13 years now and Richard has been by my side all that time. He has served as president of a congregation, served on ministerial search committees and many other committees and boards. He has always been a youth group advisor and a member of small group ministry. That was until I began professional ministry in 2006. As a spouse of a minister, your relationship with the Congregation changes and boundaries become more firm and important.

Richard never asked for that. It came when I answered my call to ministry. He gladly accepted his role. Truth be told, it meant that Richard's spiritual home became the congregation his husband would lead. It was difficult for him to engage and embrace the congregations I've served as enthusiastically and as authentically in a way that comes naturally to him. There was a period where his spiritual life became about supporting me and his needs taking a back seat.

That has changed since we've arrived at this lovely Congregation. Richard has found that he can easily nurture his spirit here. He has returned to another love of his life, working with youth. He has also reconnected with small group ministry. I'm delighted. He has stayed away so long because of my role in congregations and here he feels loved, supported, and able to nurture his spirit. You will likely not find him on committees. As my husband, this work is confusing for us and the Congregation. You will, however, find both of us donating flowers, offering snacks for coffee hour, setting up, cleaning up, and pitching in wherever there is a need. Richard will especially be visible.

Some ask if he should be on the payroll! It is not solely out of duty to me and my ministry that he offers so much. He has chosen to become a member of this Congregation and for him that means he has a responsibility to the community. I can't tell you how deep and developed this virtue is for him. Let us be clear. I know from my 24 years experience that if Richard would not like to do something he wouldn't! It is his love for this Congregation, his sense of responsibility, and his being grateful for the encouragement of his personal and spiritual growth that he is so willing to serve.  

We are both honored to be among you and look forward to growing and connecting with you for years to come. Yes, we are very happy here. 

Blessings, Rev. CJ


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