Dear Friends in Christ,
This is a hard letter to write, as it is my final From the Pastor’s Keyboard piece. I give thanks for the past four years, the wonderful times that we have shared, and the ministry that we have done together. While I look forward to returning to England and my new appointment with the British Methodist Church, it is a sad time too as we say our goodbyes. I will miss each one of you. I have been so blessed by my time at Sierra Pines and I will carry you all in my heart.
After June 30, I will no longer be your pastor. That privilege will belong to Pastor Suzanne. She will be the person that you will now turn to for your pastoral concerns and for your conversations about the church and discipleship. In our Methodist tradition, that includes meaning that I will not return to Sierra Pines to conduct your baptisms, weddings or funerals, even when I am back in this country.
From July 1, Pastor Suzanne will receive all email sent to pastor at sierrapinesumc.org. Please ensure you fix your address books and remove any other email addresses that you have for me from your church distribution lists.
My role in your lives now is more akin to that of an old acquaintance. If you wish to keep in contact and send me occasional personal news, then you can contact the church office for my new email and physical address. I will accept your friend requests on Facebook so that you can see my personal posts, but I will not respond much to yours. If you come to England, please look us up! Any communication that I have with you will be strictly on a personal level and I will not respond to anything that you have to say about what is going on in the church. As hard as it is, if we all respect these boundaries, then Pastor Suzanne’s ministry among you will be able to flourish.
We are all called to be disciples of Jesus Christ; to be love in action. That calling is not going to change with my leaving. You will continue to be Christ’s hands and feet, feeding the hungry, bringing comfort and hope to the sick, loving your neighbors and sharing your stories and engaging with the world. I know and trust that God has some wonderful things in store for you as you journey together in faith in this new season with Pastor Suzanne. Thank you for being on my discipleship journey and all that you have taught me. Now trust that God’s light will shine and light your way into the future.
Love and Blessings,
— Pastor Joan