A decision to retire . . .
This past Sunday (January 22), I announced to the congregation that I had arrived at a decision to fully retire on July 1and that the church would be getting a new pastor on that date. This decision has been a long process involving prayerful deliberation, much thought, a lot of reflection, and many conversations with Gretchen. In the end, I truly feel it is the best decision for both the church and me.
In making this decision, I have come to the awareness that the church is in a good place right now. Financially, we are in the best shape since I came. We are not loaded by any means, but we have monitored our expenses until we have little difficulty in covering our bills at the present time. We even have some extra money when the bills get paid now! The move to a single board has gone smoothly and the Church Board is going forward to address some specific issues that should be well received. And do not forget the church staff. The church staff that I work with is really great. From the office ladies, to the worship ladies, to the Preschool lady, to the Youth Director gentleman, this church has an outstanding staff with which to work. I have been blessed by them and you will continue to be blessed by them. So, all of these items will make this a great place for a new pastor.
So now that you know a new pastor is coming, how will this take place? The Bishop and Cabinet will begin the process of doing an inventory of each church in the conference around the first part of February. From that inventory process, they will know which churches will be in need of a new pastor. Due to a lot of other clergy retirements, there will be many churches needing new pastors on July 1. The larger churches will get addressed first and as the vacancies are filled the Bishop and Cabinet will move down the list until each church’s vacancy is filled. Based on my guess, we should hear something about a new pastor in late March or early April.
When the Bishop and Cabinet arrive at a decision on the possible pastor, the District Superintendent, Leah Hidde-Gregory, will call for a meeting with the Church Board. In this meeting, the Dis-trict Superintendent will share the name, some specifics on the individual, and why this person was selected for this church. This meeting will be called the “seating” process for a new pastor.
Once the pastor has been named, the work will begin by the Church Board and me to connect with the person. This will involve inviting the pastor and family to Mexia to meet with the Church Board, tour the church, see the parsonage, and deal with the many questions that both sides will need answers. In all, this is not too difficult of a process, but one that will need careful attention to details in order to make a great transition. We already know that some minor work will be necessary in the parsonage before the new pastor and family moves to Mexia. The Church Board will be addressing this long before July 1.
Some have inquired about our future plans in retirement. Ten years ago, when we purchased our property west of Mexia, we did so with the intent of someday retiring there. So, we will continue to live there as we begin the retirement process. Others have asked about our continuing to attend church here and a decision has been made regarding this. We have made a decision not to attend this church for at least one year. We want there to be a great transition with the new pastor and family and feel our presence on a Sunday, in any form, would distract from that process. We will be in the community shopping, eating out, and doing the normal day-to-day things, but we will find a new church home for the first year. Please understand this decision, because it comes out of love for you and this church and what is best for this church and the new pastor and family.
This change to being retired is going to take some effort. Being more of a workaholic type, I have tended to have difficulty playing, unless I work at it. So while I have things I want to do around the place, such as a growing “honey-do” list, this next stage of my (our) life is going to be an adjustment. In the past, I have jokingly said that when this time comes I will get a part-time job at Tractor Supply. So no telling where you might find me or us!
We do covet your prayers in this time of our adjustment to being retired.
Being blessed more than I deserve,