Dear St. Andrew's Family,
I cannot believe it has been over eleven years that I have served as your Pastor. You not only welcomed me and my family, but embraced my crazy hair, my metaphors, and my passion for us to be a church that serves all of Tucson. These past eleven years have been some of my best years in ministry, watching a church family care for each other, love Jesus, and care for the world around them. I thank you and feel honored I got to serve all of you wonderful people.
I want to thank you for how supportive you have been in my cancer journey. I have felt love, compassion, and graciousness from all of you. You have probably heard by now that my cancer has continued to progress. This past Monday, I started "Plan C," which will be a Phase 1 Clinical Trial. "Plan C" will not be chemo, but rather what they call an inhibitor, which is a drug that targets specific mutations of my cancer cells. It is a long shot, but I feel good about trying something new and more progressive.
After much soul-searching, I am convinced that even if I survive this cancer fight, I may never be able to work full-time or at a full capacity job such as Pastor/Head of Staff. So, after much prayer, I believe it is time for me to resign. Even though I am not working now, I have asked Session that Sunday, April 18, be my last official day. My hope is to have a Goodbye Service and, if health allows, I would love to preach one last sermon at St. Andrew's. As is required by our Presbyterian polity, the Session will likely call a congregational meeting “to dissolve the pastoral relationship” before then, but the effective date of my resignation will remain April 18.
I have communicated my request to Session and know the Personnel Committee and Session are already working with the Presbytery on a transition plan to provide strong pastoral leadership as you move forward. I have been told the Session will communicate those transition plans as soon as they are confirmed.
You have been a wonderful church to serve. You have loved me and my family well, and I truly love all of you. I know this church will continue to thrive and impact the Kingdom even after this wild period of ambiguity. You are a bonfire that shines a powerful light in this community. Nothing will put that out!
Love you all, Pastor Jim