By Rev. Donn
In Ecclesiastes 3:1 we read, “For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven” and as I shared at the Worship Service on May 21, the time for my retirement is coming. I will be retiring effective Jan. 15, 2024, but my last week will be a vacation week, so my last Sunday with you will be Jan. 7, but that will be a ‘Star Sunday’ so my last Sunday in the pulpit here at First Christian Church will be Dec. 31, 2023. I and my family have been deeply blessed by our many seasons with you and I want to thank you all for the honor and privilege of being able to share in ministry with you for what will be over 35 years. Wow!
This means that the leadership of the congregation will be putting together a Search Committee in order to help discern who God is calling as the next minister and your prayers will be greatly needed and appreciated. It has been a long time since this congregation has been through this process and with the advancement of technology I’m sure a lot of the procedures have changed, but what has not changed is that you all are faithful disciples, deeply dedicated and committed to serving God and sharing God’s love and grace with all people.
We are a congregationally governed church which means that the General and Regional ministries of the church will assist the congregation in the process and help in locating available candidates, but they will not be assigning a candidate to serve you, ultimately that will be up to you and God. And you are going to have your pick, because once word gets out, everyone is going to want to come here, not just because of the weather but because of your faithfulness. You will be the #1 Draft Choice for everyone! We have a great campus, fairly new roof, new chancel lights, new A/C and no debt! We meet our bills; and are one of the few congregations that support all 6 special offerings for missions. In 2021 when other churches were closing, we had 7 baptisms; in 2022 when other churches were struggling we launched a new ministry to help struggling families by opening a food pantry; and this past Christmas, partnering with Adopt A Family, we helped 300 struggling families have Christmas. We celebrate God’s diversity; racially, socially, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation and we believe everybody means everybody and that is reflective in our membership. On top of that, we have the most joyful, inspiring music this side of heaven. You all are the best!
Most likely an ‘Interim Minister’ will be called to serve in January for a short time (usually a few months) to help with the transition from the ending of my ministry with you and helping to prepare the congregation for new leadership. During that time the Search Committee will be going through resumes, following up with potential candidates with questions and possible interviews, zoom meetings maybe, checking out references, listening to sermons, stuff like that, but please understand, it is a confidential process. The Search Committee cannot share any names of potential candidates during that time, so please don’t ask. And it takes some time, so your patience, understanding, and respect for the process will be greatly appreciated.
As to Diana, Andreus and myself, we are not moving, but after I retire I will not be worshiping with you regularly, and I will not be available for funerals, weddings, or baptisms. This is part of the transitioning process, and it is important for you as well as the new leadership in order to move forward, and you can’t move forward looking back. By the way, I’m probably going to be looking for part-time work, so if you know a job that fits my skill set, pays well, and has flexible hours, please let me know.
Again, I want to thank you for the blessing you all are to us, we have been blessed beyond measure, you have filled us to overflowing with love and support. And we’re not leaving tomorrow, we’ve still got like 8 months of all kinds of fun, mischief and most importantly ministry to attend to.
Thank you. God Bless,