Dear Minnesota Conference UCC community,
The prophet Jeremiah reminds us of God’s steadfast guidance in our lives, and proclaims God’s beautiful promise of a future brimming with goodness and hope. Today I take confidence in that promise as I share the news that my time as your Conference Minister will soon conclude.
I have accepted the appointment of the UCC’s General Minister & President to serve as the Acting Associate General Minister of Wider Church Ministries (UCC) and the Co-Executive of Global Ministries (UCC and Disciples of Christ). My ministry here in Minnesota will end on December 29.
During these ten years we have been in ministry together, we have experienced a season marked by treasured relationships, faithful discernment, enormous change for the Church at large, and events in our state and nation that have challenged and shaped us all. The next three months will offer many opportunities for reflection on our shared ministry and all the specific moments that have made it so rich and fulfilling. For now, know that I give thanks for all you have taught me, for the laughter and tears and prayers we’ve shared, and for all the ways we’ve witnessed to the love, justice, and mercy of a God who never fails to walk with us. I’m tremendously grateful for the ministries and people of the Minnesota Conference and have truly been blessed to spend this time among you.
My new call represents a “full circle” moment for me. I will have the blessing of overseeing and engaging more fully in ministries that have personally transformed me and profoundly shaped my faith, including: global ministries, disaster response and recovery, volunteer ministries, and public policy advocacy. I’ll have the joy of witnessing to our shared mission in the Church, in this country and with our partners around the world, something about which I’ve long been passionate. It feels like an extraordinary opportunity to give back some measure of all God has given. I am amazed and humbled by how God has led me to this unexpected moment and ask your prayers that I will be sufficient to the task.
In the United Church of Christ Book of Worship, the liturgy of farewell includes these words:
“I thank you for the love, kindness, and support shown me all these years. I ask forgiveness for the mistakes I have made. I am grateful for the ways my leadership has been accepted. As I leave I carry with me all that I have learned here. I trust that our time together, and now our parting, are pleasing to God.”
This is my prayer as we spend these last months together. May our time remaining be filled with a spirit of gratitude and mutual care, and may we trust that God promises to all a future where hope flourishes.
Reverend Shari Prestemon, Conference Minister