Touché April 5, 2018
Posted on April 6, 2018 by under Touché,


The Seasons of This Pastor’s Life

Dear Friends in Christ:

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…He has made everything beautiful in its time.”                                          (From Ecclesiastes 3)


On September 1, I will celebrate twenty years as pastor of Hopewell. This has been a beautiful season of life for me as your leader. I came here with a son in preschool and two young daughters. I am now a grandpa. We have seen amazing growth and fruitful ministry here. I have worked with wonderful staff and healthy leaders and consider each moment we have shared a blessing. I believe I am now heading into the conclusion of my season of leadership here at HRC.

There are a number of reasons I sense a change in this season.  Here are two:

1) My life and faith have changed. When Andrew had his accident five years ago so many things changed for me and for our family. I saw, through a different lens, the beauty and wonder of life that can be fleeting. While it has deepened my faith in so many ways, it has encouraged me to hold more loosely to the structures of religion and lean more deeply in the realities of faith.

Richard Rohr would call this “Falling Upwards.” That term is his description for a spirituality for the second half of life. It has excited and stimulated my thinking about God’s plans for me.

2) The life of the church.  I recognize that Hopewell is ready for significant change and transformation.  The longer a leader leads the church, the more challenging it can be for new models of ministry. Many new ministries have been launched in the last twenty years: contemporary worship, ChristCare, CMP, Kids Hope, Stephen Ministry, Odyssey, mission trips and so much more.  We are ready for new models, new ministry, and revitalization of existing ministry.  I also recognize my “jump” (my term for this leap of faith) is seeing God’s work outside of the church, and Hopewell is ready to be served by one who is looking at the next stages of ministry here at HRC.

Through the winter my prayer life focused around these issues.  I remember clearly a morning when I woke up and heard the message “sixty and twenty.”  I will be sixty years old on July 31 and I plan that weekend to be when I finish out my pulpit ministry at Hopewell.  September 1 will be my twenty-year anniversary at Hopewell, and that will be when my ministry as installed pastor will conclude.  I am not sure yet where the “jump” will take me, but I feel great joy in anticipating new callings for my life.  Cathy is still teaching (and fully on board with this direction) and we will be in Hopewell for the foreseeable future.

Consistory will be meeting on Tuesday and will start the planning process through transitions.  I am excited about preaching a series from the book of Acts and Wes Granberg-Michaelson’s new book: Future Faith-Ten Challenges Reshaping Christianity in the 21st Century.  Consistory and staff will be reading this book as well.  I encourage you to join us.

We can all be thankful that God makes everything beautiful in its time.

In Love,