Today is my last day as Associate Pastor of First United Methodist Church. Writing that sentence conjures up a lot of emotions in me. More than there's time to write and reflect on. But for now I'll share two things: 1. A photo from last night's going away party that I think so reflects how much joy I have experienced here. 2. My final note of thanks to these beautiful people who have been my family and faith community for the last five+ years. I'm more grateful than I have words to speak. And I am forever better, more whole and alive, because of them.
To First Church
In June of 2012 I said goodbye to the first church I served as pastor. I knew that I was ready to take on the new roll as Associate Pastor at this vibrant and energetic church at the south end of the conference. It was a dream position for me and I was crazy excited. But I will tell you I grieved deeply the idea that I couldn’t call myself their pastor anymore. I remember vividly saying to myself in the throes of that grief that I was going to have to be more careful when I came to Round Rock about letting you all into my heart so readily.
Then I showed up here. And you are so darn wonderful. And we worshiped together and prayed together and served Round Rock together and studied the Bible together and asked questions together and went on mission trips across the world together. We laughed together. And laughed some more.
I find myself once more in the same place. I know that missionary service is the next right step for me. It’s a dream I’ve had a long time and I am crazy excited. And yet I grieve. I know myself well enough to know that I’m not much like the Apostle Paul. But it seems that there is at least one thing we have in common. He was no stranger to goodbyes with the communities that he so deeply loved. So I will borrow from Paul and say I will thank God every time I remember you.
I look forward with anticipation to seeing what God is going to bring for First Church in this next chapter. I believe with my whole heart that Will Cotton, with his boldness and integrity, is the right Senior Pastor for this season. And I am so grateful that First Church will be my home connection and my first Covenant church. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.