On February 5, 2023, Pastor Pat delivered the following address at the close of the 10:30 AM worship service:
Whether you are aware or not, January of each year begins, for clergy, appointment season. The bishop and cabinet assess the needs of each congregation and discern who should be sent to each assignment.
What you probably also don’t know is that this is also the season when those who will be retiring effective July 1 will be announced.
If you happen to receive the conference’s electronic newsletter, this past Monday, if you scrolled down and read the list of retirements, you saw my name was the very first one. And you were surprised. And so was I!
I was surprised because I am not retiring in 2023.
But I have requested and been approved to retire effective July 1, 2024.
In the first chapter in the gospel of Luke, the 23rd verse reads. “When his time of service was ended, he returned to his home.” Our assignments in life are only for a season, a season for which only God holds the beginning and the end. After much prayer, discernment, and conversations with my family, I fully embrace and accept that how I have been called to serve in this season is ending. And I praise God for the privilege of having served so many, and especially you. But beloved, I am going home.
So, what does that mean? Well for you, it means for the next 16 months, you are stuck with me.
We will continue the work God has begun, raising up leaders, baptizing, marrying, celebrating lives that now reside in eternity, teaching, preaching, mentoring, and building.
And if you recall from the sermon somebody preached a couple of weeks ago, sometimes the best gift you can give is to boldly step back and make way for the NEXT.
So I pray that you understand. I pray that you know we are only called for a season, and it is my heartfelt intent to be your pastor until the day that I leave here. Because God loves you, and so do I, and ain’t nothing you can do about that.
You may view the announcement in the worship broadcast recording at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIyFvQoApe8&t=4041s, beginning at the 1-hour 7-minute mark.