Grief and Transition

November 18, 2012

Dear Washington Plaza Church family:

I come before you this morning with a heavy heart. It’s heavy because I have news to share with you that has caused me a great deal of sadness as I have thought and prayed and discerned.  I need to tell you that I am sharing this resignation letter today, ending this chapter as your pastor effective on December 24, 2012.

This is sad news for all of us because we have loved each other well over these four years of life together as pastor and congregation. And, when you love someone, you don’t ever want to part ways.  When you love someone, you don’t want to do anything to hurt them, to discourage them, or to cause them pain. The deep love I have for you has made this decision a particularly hard one.

But in spiritual community, which is what we’ve formed together as a church, there is something in addition to love for one another that binds us together, and that is calling. We believe that God ordains and guides all of our steps, even when what we are being asked to do is difficult.  My change in status with you is a response to my changing sense of call.

It is not that I have been called to be a pastor of another church.

It is not that I haven’t enjoyed being your pastor or that there is some conflict going on in the church that you don’t know about.

It is not that I have lost my faith in anyway or am leaving the ministry. Rather, it is that I feel called into a different season of ministry beginning in 2013.

As you all know, Kevin’s new position as President of Feed The Children has caused a huge shift in our life rhythms in 2012. This new assignment came about as a result of God’s calling on Kevin’s life to lead and as he has settled into his responsibilities a shift has happened within me as well. I, too, now feel a call to use the voice God has given me to be a global advocate for children and families, for those most often ignored or in distress. I will begin to volunteer more of my time to FTC. And I look forward to spending more time with my husband in the coming months.

In addition, I believe God is leading me to grow into my writing vocation—completing a book for publication by the end of next year and pursuing new writing projects.

So, while my time as your pastor will come to an end this year know of my ongoing love and support for you as a church. I believe as strongly in the vision of who you are as a congregation as I did when I began in January 2009. You are unique in the best of ways. You are a needed witness in this community of God’s acceptance for all people. You are a collection of some of the kindest and most loving people that any pastor could hope to lead.

You have certainly moved mountains in my own life—you have made me into the woman, the pastor that I am today and will be in the future. You took a chance on hiring a 28 year old, who could have been your granddaughter, making her YOUR pastor.

By doing this for me four years ago, you gave me the biggest gifts and honors of my life—to be called your pastor. And our relationship, you have given me room to grow and explore and find my voice and for that I am and will forever be grateful.

It’s a time in our history with one another to be sad. It’s a time to walk through grief. But it is also a time to trust. You are so much bigger than who your pastor is. You are so much more than your leader. You are strong and capable of being all that God calls you to in the future.

I know this time of transition will have its own unique challenges, but believe you will face them with same grace and perseverance you have shown in facing challenges before. I will be cheering you on, treasuring the memories made in our four years together, and wishing you all of God’s most abundant blessings in your future.

With love,

Elizabeth

Comments

  1. Brenda Peters says

    Elizabeth,

    My prayers go with you as you start on this new leg of your journey. It has been great watching you mature as a pastor. You have come a long way since FBCGAITHERSBURG!!!! Please keep on tweeting. And know I will be praying for you and Kevin.

    Brenda

  2. says

    E, may God go with you in this exciting future ahead. These transitions are never easy but it sounds like God is opening some new and awesome doors! It’s really cool that you and Kevin can work together in this common calling.

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