A few years ago, Karen was giving a report to the annual conference in her role as the benefits officer. A disgruntled pastor rose to complain about a reduction in medical coverage that adversely affected his wife. The reduction in benefits applied to all laity and clergy in the plan but he took it more personally. Karen patiently explained how it all worked. And how it mostly worked for this family’s benefit. She concluded her response by saying, “Things change.”
After her retirement in 2019, a new grandson, several Covid positive family members, and a pandemic later, we do not have to be reminded that things change—sometimes for good, sometimes for ill. But things change.
When Susan invited me to come on staff two years ago as pastor of congregational care, I said that I would do it for two years or until she moved to a new appointment if that came sooner. It has been a delight to work again with Susannah, Victoria, and Lori; and to cultivate new relationships with Laura, Dottie, Kari, and Angela. It’s been fun to visit old buddies Max Poole, Cliff Griffin, Francis McKinney, Paige Moore, and Jim Brough, and others on a regular basis pre COVID, then by phone and email; and to learn a new prayer discipline and video skills while quarantined and trying to record prayers on my porch amid a cacophony of airplanes, barking dogs, and lawn mowers. Now two years have passed. Susan is being appointed to the Simpsonwood UMC. We are experiencing a shortfall in our operating budget and facing some very expensive deferred maintenance expenses. My family needs more of my time and energy. Things change.
So, at the end of June, I am stepping away from being a paid staff member. I have told Jordan (whom I have known for many years and welcome as my new pastor) that I am not going anywhere. I will be around and available to support and assist him in whatever ways he needs or wants.
But before Jordan checks in, I hope to see you worship on July 4. If you can’t be there, check it out online. Rachel and I will be sharing some hopes and dreams for the congregation, maybe a confession or two, even some admonitions. Who knows, there could be a vision mixed in there somewhere for this great congregation. A cautionary note: Things will change.
Thank you for loving and supporting me as you did so well during my first tour of duty at Embry Hills United Methodist Church.
Blessings on you.
Coming soon in Sunday worship:
- July 4: “The Fullertons”. Rev. Lee Fullerton and Rachel Fullerton (our Lay Leader) will co-preach the sermon as they share their perspectives on the present and future of the church. Come be inspired by this special Father-Daughter team!
- July 11: Welcoming Dr. Jordan Thrasher and his family to Embry Hills! Don’t miss Jordan’s first Sunday as pastor and the chance to meet Meredith and their three girls: Georgia, Elizabeth, and Anna. We’ll have Three Tikis here (similar to Kona Ice) to enjoy outside in the parking lot from noon-2 pm.