Dear St. Paul’s friends,
I have some important news to share with you. With a heavy heart, I write to tell you I will be moving to a new pastoral appointment, effective July 1.
After six years as your senior pastor, God has led me to discern that now is a good time for me to embrace a new season in ministry. This discernment led me to talk with our bishop, Scott Jones, about a new appointment for me and new leadership for St. Paul’s. After some conversation and prayer, he accepted my discernment and is appointing me to be senior pastor of Trinity United Methodist Church in Beaumont, Texas.
Bethany and I are excited about this opportunity even though it means saying farewell to you. From the very beginning when I was an associate pastor here, you embraced me as I served among you for those first four years. When I returned to you six years ago, I was again embraced with openness. We discerned a vision from God to be a “cathedral for the city.” We recruited and retained a gifted staff to serve, and we worked to empower strong lay leaders. One year ago, we raised pledges and funds to begin a major capital improvement of St. Paul’s sanctuary building. That work is, of course, fully underway and will be valued for the long term by all those here and those who come after us.
I know there are more opportunities and challenges to come. Opportunities to
inspire faith and lead change for the common good
in Houston will always be right in front of you. Funding the ministry of the church will always require choices and faithfulness for which you have always shown the capacity. As you know, our beloved United Methodist denomination faces challenges in discerning our future. Another pastor will lead you further in that journey. For all of these opportunities and challenges, we trust God. As any of my clergy colleagues will agree, we are itinerant pastors who go where God leads. I trust God’s leading in this decision for the next season of your ministry and mine.
We will spend the next few months giving thanks and planning for the future. Our District Superintendent Dr. Jesse Brannen and Bishop Scott Jones are already working with our Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) to fully understand your hopes for your next senior pastor. Your SPRC chair, Ashlee Ross, is a strong leader and good listener, as is the rest of the committee of lay leaders.
Please always know of my love for each and every one of you and my profound gratitude for the way you have blessed me and my family. We will be eternally grateful for you. A brief verbal announcement will come on Palm Sunday so that we can then fully turn our rightful attention to the worship of God during the Holy Week and Easter journey.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Tommy Williams,