It is with both excitement and also bittersweet thoughts that I have decided to retire from full-time ministry effective July 1, 2020, to move closer to our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter Parker, who live outside New Albany, Indiana. First Wayne Street has felt like the perfect congregation — kind, nurturing, supportive, and willing to try new things — along with a tremendous staff and great lay leadership! I simply cannot say enough about how special you are and how much I enjoy the trust and faith that you have placed in me as well as in Christ.
At the same time, as a pastor, I have been privileged to be an inside observer of people’s lives—the choices they make, the priorities they set and the challenges they face. Through those observations and my own experiences, I have learned that tomorrow is promised to no one and that it is easy to take those that we love for granted. My husband, Gerry has been retired for nearly 10 years, but I have continued to serve a full-time schedule of ministry. He has been supportive every step of the way, but I would like to spend more time with him. Twenty years of ministry have also kept us “out of town” from family and currently we are almost four hours away from our son, Andrew, and his family. Many of you have said that you understand. In addition, we lived in New Albany for almost eleven years as we operated our moving and storage business and as I attended seminary in Louisville. So we are returning to familiar territory where we have friends and connections in addition to the kids.
The Indiana Bishop and his cabinet of superintendents will begin the annual appointment-making process in early January and First Wayne Street will be represented at the cabinet table by our superintendent, the Rev. David Neckers. Dave lives in Fort Wayne and is very familiar with this church, understanding its values and its importance as a leading church in Fort Wayne — this church will be well represented. He has also met with the Staff Parish Relations Committee of FWS to gather their input and to prepare a complete church profile. Through prayer and with all of the church profile information, the Bishop will appoint the next senior pastor at First Wayne Street.
If you look at the wall of pictures outside the atrium, you will see that First Wayne Street has been well-served in the past and you can have every confidence that God has just the right person ready to begin serving July 1, 2020. An announcement will be made as soon as the new pastor has been named.
In the meantime, I call everyone to “keep the faith.” Ministry continues, and I expect to keep working hard and serving faithfully until June 30. The church has incredible momentum and the fields are ripe for harvest! I will be working closely with the new appointee throughout the spring to enable a smooth transition. Continue to pray faithfully — for Bishop Trimble and the Cabinet as they discern who God has called to be your next senior pastor, for the congregation and the church staff as we all move through transition, for Gerry and me as we prepare to enter a new chapter in our lives and for the new pastor that will be coming and who I expect to be as blessed as I have been.
New Years Blessings,