Dear Friends and Members of Northaven,
For two and a half years I have had the privilege of serving Northaven “at the intersection of Faith and Justice.” I have been challenged to be the best I could be and I have been blessed by the incredible leadership, passion and creativity that lives in this church. I have been inspired by your commitment to inclusion and your advocacy for justice. I have marveled at your resilience as you dug deep during these last nine months, pivoting our ministry to online platforms, and innovating new ways to stay connected, engaged and growing in faith.
It has been a journey I will always treasure as I prepare for a next chapter. Today I am announcing my retirement from full-time ministry in the United Methodist Church, effective January 31, 2021.
Over the last two years I have been in discernment about my purpose at Northaven: How is God calling me to lead at this time in the life of Northaven? It has been clear that my ministry is one of being a bridge to a more future-looking church. While this work continues to unfold, I am grateful for what we have done together in establishing a more focused definition of Northaven’s strategic priorities, a more efficient structure to implement those priorities, and a consistent practice of spiritual worship combined with biblical preaching. Northaven is nowaccessible to both an online community and an in-person congregation, giving it the ability to unfold a far reaching and faithful witness to a gracious God whose love is inclusive and unconditional. Perhaps most importantly, there is a dedicated group of lay leaders who understand the adaptive challenges that will face the church in the future and are poised to respond.
What I have realized is that my personal timeline has been accelerated. Jack has been retired for four years and it is now time for us to start a new phase of life. We would like to be more available to my parents in North Carolina, and to all of our kids and grandkids in the Boston area. Our newest granddaughter, Zella, is luring us to New England and we hope to make that move as soon as we can.
I know this creates additional disruption for Northaven in this pandemic time. And yet I am equally certain that there are wise and capable leaders who are in place and leading in vital ways. The challenges are real, and yet I have every confidence that God is cooperating for good even in this unusual time.
As I process the mix of sadness, grief, gratitude and joyful expectation I am feeling, I want you to know that I am truly at peace and honored to have had the experience of being in ministry with you. There are many sweet and powerful moments I will remember, along with all the creative and passionate people I will hold in my heart. There will be more thoughts to share, but for now I hope you will receive my deepest appreciation and gratitude for who you are.