Last week the following letter regarding the departure of Sarah Marsh Schutte was sent to the congregation. At the congregational meeting on Sunday a motion was voted upon to conclude her position at St. Giles. Her letter is just below, and then below the letter is the Resolution adopted by the Congregation in response to her request.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I am writing to let you know that I am moving on from my position as Associate Pastor of St. Giles at the end of February. After consulting with Kevin and much prayer and consideration, we truly believe this is a good time for me to step aside and seek what God has next for our family. The Session has offered me a severance package which will enable us to focus on this new chapter and make plans for next steps.
For the last several years there has been concern as to whether my position at St. Giles would be ongoing. As our congregation has gotten smaller, so has our budget. As the overall budget diminished, the proportion of the budget going to staff salaries has grown. It has become apparent that there needed to be either a reduction in staff salaries or a reduction in the number of staff to serve a smaller congregation. The generosity of the St. Giles congregation and their commitments for 2018 enabled the Session to defer making staffing changes, but changes were likely coming, either this year or in the future, and I see the time is right for this transition.
I once had a colleague tell me that she'd never known a pastor who loved her congregation as much as I love St. Giles. She had reason to say this. When God called me to the church in October of 2010, He filled me with a love for you that was clearly a gift from Him. And then, as I've gotten to know you, that love has only grown. It has truly been a gift to be your pastor. Your love for worship, love for one another, eagerness as students of the Bible, and devotion as disciples continue to bless me. We have seen God move among us, healing hearts and bodies, bringing people to deeper faith in Jesus, and inspiring us in mission. I've developed as a pastor and grown in the Spirit during this season. You have supported me through sickness and surgery and abundantly celebrated my recent blessings of marriage and children. You love our little family. The love has gone both ways. The good news is, as God calls me in a new direction and brings St. Giles into a new chapter, this love does not stop. We'll still be in the area, and we'll still be praying for St. Giles and cheering for you in everything you do to advance the kingdom.
Though there is sadness as one chapter closes, there is excitement about what is coming. We are eager to see what God has next, both for the church and for the Schutte family. We believe God is at work at St. Giles and has many good things yet in store. We treasure your prayers, just as we treasure you.
In Christ's Love,
Pastor Sarah Marsh Schutte
Whereas the Lord has used Rev. Sarah Marsh Schutte to
faithfully accomplish His work in our midst,
And whereas Sarah has been a faithful shepherd to lead, encourage,
take care of, watch out for, nurture, rescue,
and direct the sheep of the St. Giles flock,
Sarah has led in humility and truth, fanned the sparks of renewal,
brought the Word alive
through her preaching and worship leadership,
and through her leadership of the healing and prayer ministry,
And whereas Sarah's love for Christ, reliance upon the Holy Spirit,
and compassion for His people
have comforted the sick and distressed,
And whereas Sarah's ministry has brought light where there was darkness and
given hope and encouragement where there was discouragement,
And whereas Sarah has served the Lord at St. Giles with gladness, faithfulness,
and with great compassion for His flock, investing in our lives
in a way that has truly made a difference,
And whereas Sarah has led in kindness, and
preached the Truth with great love,
And whereas we are so grateful to the Lord that when the Spirit of the Lord asked,
"Whom shall I send to St. Giles?" Sarah humbly replied,
"Send Me," just when we needed her most,
And whereas the Lord is now calling Sarah into a new season,
and we are asking God to bless and keep her safely in His arms as she follows Christ into what he has for her next,
Therefore, with love and gratitude for Sarah's season of ministry here,
I move that the Covenant Partners of St Giles Presbyterian Church honor
Rev. Sarah Marsh Schutte's request to dissolve her pastoral relationship with
St. Giles Presbyterian Church, effective 28 February 2018.