Below is the letter I shared with my congregation about my departure from Great Bridge UMC as I prepare for my appointment to Mount Olivet UMC in Arlington.
There isn’t much to complain about when your first day at a new church requires you to go to the beach. On July 1, 2015, It was my first day and I was heading to the beach and as I walked up the sidewalk and into the church lobby, butterflies were swirling. As someone who spent a lot of my summers in college visiting the eastern shore of Delaware I didn’t mind this requirement of my new position at Great Bridge UMC but the thought of leading such a great group of students gave me butterflies.
Since being called to GBUMC to serve as the Director of Youth Ministries in 2015, this community has challenged me daily to fully live into the calling God has placed on my life. From day 1 (yes, we can be called at the beach) I have been feeling God calling, pulling, and pushing me deeper into pastoral ministry. This has been a call that for a long-time I had ignored and pretended did not exist. But this community, the congregation of GBUMC and larger Great Bridge community, has challenged me daily to live into this call.
Late last year, Pastor Tim and I began to have conversations about what it would like for me to take the next steps in my calling to pastoral ministry. What did that look like for me and my family, and how would I navigate these next steps. Over the course of a few months, supported by a lot of prayer and a supportive family, I had multiple conversations with other pastors as well as our District Superintendent. These conversations culminated in me being approved as a certified candidate for ordination as well as being appointed to Mount Olivet United Methodist Church, beginning in July 2017, as an associate pastor.
This appointment comes with great joy as well as heartache as Allison, Camden, and I prepare to move once again. Our home is in Great Bridge. Our friends are in Great Bridge. Camden loves being at church, and yes, would be here seven days a week if his parents allowed him. With this heartache comes excitement as well. I have the opportunity to take the thing this community has taught me along with me into this new season of ministry. GBUMC will always be part of our family, my ministry, and my calling. This community, the students particularly, helped me to understand how God had been calling me. This community helped me to grow as I began to find a voice for preaching and teaching. This community is one of the reasons I am able to live into my calling.
Rest assured, I am working with the youth council, Pastor Tim, and SPRC to ensure a smooth transition at the end of June. There will be a lot of questions over the coming months both for me as I prepare for this next season in ministry as well as for GBUMC. If you have questions about my call, appointment, or what’s next for our family I’d love to talk. Just stop by the office, shoot me an email, or let’s grab a cup of coffee.