Dear people of God:
By now you know of my plans to retire next May; I want to write a little about what I hope for in my final months with you. As I wrote to the Session, the time is right for this for both the Church and for me.
I have no intention of “coasting into retirement.” You deserve better than that. Rather, I want to identify what is most important for me to work on with you as I prepare to leave you and you prepare to examine yourselves under the direction of an interim pastor. The purpose of interim time is not merely to prepare to call a new pastor; it is for a church to stop and ask, “Who are we? What are we for?”
This month I will turn 65, which is not in and of itself enough reason to retire, but it did raise for me the question of whether it was time. We have done some remarkable things together so far, you and I, and so it seems to me time for you to have a pastor educated in a different generation. And Kathleen and I are still young and healthy enough to do many things we want to do.
I will write and speak more about our future relationships as the day draws closer. Some of you may ask why I am giving so much notice; you would probably expect only a month or two. I worked with some wise advisors on the timing of all this, and we agreed that you should have plenty of time to seek an interim pastor to begin working with you. Seven months may be (I will not promise that it is!) enough time to have someone ready to begin work with you next summer.
In the meantime, let’s continue to look together to God, to listen to the Lord Jesus, to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Let’s continue to ask whether something is welcoming to others or is simply comfortable to us. And let us love one another as Christ has loved us.