300 East Wayne Street
Fort Wayne, IN 46802
(260) 422-4681

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I Want You to Know | Reflections on Retirement

I want you to know that First Wayne Street UMC is an amazing congregation!

It has been an honor to serve in ministry with you, and I have loved being here.

In many ways, this appointment has felt like the perfect fit for me. It’s an exciting urban setting with a heart for the arts and beauty. You are a diverse congregation that is accepting of all kinds of people and differing theology. You love Christ!

I want you to know that I have felt loved and trusted by you—and you have made me a better pastor and a better person. If we are fortunate, we will encounter people in our lives for whom we can only hope to be the people they think we are. We try to live up to the high regard they seem to have for us. You have been that for me. I hope I have lived up to your expectations in some small way. And I ask you to forgive me for the ways I have fallen short.

I want you to know that God continues to have great expectations for the ministry at First Wayne Street UMC. You are located in a strategic position — geographically and historically. You have been called “for such a time as this” to be a transforming presence for issues of social justice, for excellence in worship and the arts, and for daring to venture into the waters of dramatic cultural and community change to make disciples of Jesus Christ. As a colleague once said “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” Meaningful ministry and meaningful transformation do not come without labor pains, but Christ has called you to this time and this place. Your spiritual ancestors left one church (Wayne Street Methodist) and tore down the other one (First Methodist) to move into more fruitful ministry as First Wayne Street. Now the torch has been passed on to you.

I want you to know that you have a wonderful gift coming your way in the ministry of Rev. Jason Morris. He, too, has been called “for such a time as this.” I have been impressed with his kind, yet light-hearted demeanor and his love for both Christ and people. He is the one God has equipped and prepared for this next chapter of ministry at First Wayne Street—and I will sit in the background as his greatest cheerleader!

I want you to know that some things will change, but a whole LOT will not! Any success that I have had rests on the shoulders of the tremendous staff at First Wayne Street. This church is blessed with a team of committed, faithful and caring people and that continues on! I want to extend my thanks to each and everyone of them for their support and patience over this past three years. And a special word of thanks to all the great lay leadership of the church and the many volunteers, who are the ones who really make ministry happen!

I want you to know that I have loved serving as your pastor and will miss you, but Gerry and I now move to a new chapter in our lives. It will be wonderful to be closer to part of our family and to enjoy our new home in southern Indiana. I plan to take some time to rest and then to see what my kids (and God) have in store for the future. You will be in our prayers.

Pastor Cheryl and Gerry Garbe