The following is a copy of the letter I submitted to our Session at our last meeting on June 27. I also shared this with the congregation yesterday at the close of the worship service. It was a decision that Brenda and I have made after an extended time of prayer and listening to God. I wanted everyone to know about this and I would like to make a few comments after you have read the letter.
I am today submitting my resignation as Stated Supply Pastor of Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church. It has been made clear to me by the Holy Spirit that this is the right decision at the right time for Brenda and I and for Hope Church.
Through the past several months, I have begun to feel very strongly that I am not the right person to lead Hope Church through a process of renewal and revitalization. There has been very little movement of the Spirit in our worship services and it seems as if God is speaking to me through that inactivity. It has been a painful process of prayer and seeking God’s will to come to this decision.
However, Brenda and I have agreed that this is what God would have us to do. We will always remember our ministry together here with all of you and we will miss very much many of the wonderful people it has been our privilege to serve our Lord with in this congregation.
I will not be looking for another church as I feel it is time to be retired at least for a while and get to know our grandson a little better. We plan on selling our home and moving as soon as possible back to Fort Worth, TX, to be near our family.
Subject to Session approval, my resignation will become effective July 31, 2017. Until that time I will continue to be your pastor and I encourage you to call on me when needed as you have in the past. In addition, I will do my best to assist the Session in their search for a new pastor in any way they desire.
Finally, let me say on behalf of Brenda and I, that we love and appreciate each of you and pray God’s best for the Hope Church family.
Now, for those comments: First, let me say how much I appreciate the way you received this news at the service yesterday. You were very gracious and supportive and we will always be grateful for that. As you know, I will be 71 in August and I am not sure how much time I have left but I would like to take some time to get acquainted with our grandson and reacquainted with our son.
It has been 41 years since we lived near any extended family and 17 years since we lived near our son. We are looking forward to being with Matt, Sara, and Cameron and having a relationship with Cameron as he is our only grandchild.
Secondly, I want you to know that this is not the only reason for our decision. The Session and I discussed a number of ways for the revitalization and renewal of Hope Church and we believe there is an exciting future ahead for this congregation. However, I do not feel that I have the energy and enthusiasm to guide you through this process.
We will be working with the presbytery and our denomination to secure new pastoral leadership that will be younger and more equipped to lead us into a new era of growth and ministry. As Jesus said, “the fields are white unto harvest!” I believe that Hope Church has such a field all around us but we will need everyone working together to help us accomplish the tasks before us.
Finally, let me ask you to stay the course. Don’t give up just because Brenda and I are leaving. Hope Church was here 24 years before we got here and I am quite sure it will be here until Jesus comes back for His Church! Remember, this is His church! And all of you are part of it so, stay connected and see what God can do through all of you working together.
I hope you will be with us this coming Sunday as I will begin a new series entitled “The Holiness of God.” Our scripture will be taken from Revelation 4:1-11. Brenda and I are looking forward to sharing these next few weeks with you. Until then, HAVE A GREAT WEEK WITH JESUS!
Sincerely His then yours,
P.S. Please be in prayer for the Richard Maples Family. Richard was Carole Felicia’s former husband and the father of her children. He visited with us several months ago and passed away this past week in Knoxville, TN. Carole has been there with the family during this time. Your prayers will be greatly appreciated.
P.S.S. Sorry this is late but my email has been down since Saturday. EJ