Dear Grace Family,
This year I celebrate my “sweet sixteen” of being your youth pastor. Since 2007 I’ve come a long way in setting the record for tenure in this position (the national average for a person staying in a role like mine is 16 months not 16 years).
Over these years you have watched me begin and grow the youth ministry program as well as marry, divorce, go on a pilgrimage, marry again, and birth a child. That’s no small thing. Each of you is a part of my community and my family here, in a place where I’m far from my own blood relations.
There is a lot of history that I hold, along with a handful of others who’ve been part of this journey since the beginning of the youth ministry. I was just talking the other day about how I mark time and memories in association with the mission trip of each year. The formative experiences that the other leaders and I have been able to facilitate for hundreds of youth over the years are truly life-changing.
And now, our little family of three has arrived at a life-changing path of our own. We are embarking on a new adventure together this summer and making the big move across the country to the Midwest, to live in Columbus Ohio and be close to my parents and sisters.
We are making this change not because of an attractive new job or discontent with our life in St. Helena. In fact it’s been a heart-wrenching decision to leave a beautiful place where we have so much love and support. But nothing can replace family, and after not living in the same state as my family for over 20 years, I’m ready to give it a try.
Matthias, Noah and I will be here through mid-June and join the youth group on the trip to Taize. We’ll spend these next months dreaming together and working on the transition for another person to step into my role. As Rev Anne stated when she accepted her new call, I too believe strongly that “what we need is here”—it’s been proven time and again that this community raises up saints, and I know that my successor will be no exception.
We love you all and are grateful for the months ahead with you.
Grace Church Children and Youth Ministry Director