November 12, 2019
Dear UPC Family:

It is my great joy to serve God as this congregation's Director of Music. My tenure here will soon have been for two decades, and it is time to tell you that I will retire from my post on Pentecost Sunday, May 31, 2020. I will certainly be of an age to qualify for retirement, and I expect it to be successful this time.

During my time here I have been especially grateful to work in partnership with this congregation's pastoral and professional staff. I've already said this to them, that I have truthfully never worked with a more servant-hearted church staff, one so unified in dedication to serving our Lord in this place. Whoever is my successor will thereby be blessed from the beginning of his or her time here.

UPC's Chancel Choir has blessed me far more than I have been able to bless them. The members of this choir are truly a servant people; blessing God and His people gathered here through the music they sing.

There is more to say to you all before I retire. For now my prayer is that God continues to inspire, strengthen, and bless your ministry - our ministry - together in this place.

Grace, peace, and much joy to you all,
Ara Carapetyan
Director of Music
Well, shucks. I love a lot of things about this pastoral calling, but accepting the retirement of a beloved colleague is not one of them. 

Ara is a dear friend and a truly gifted musician. I think you already know how special his spirit is. From my perspective, he has treated every day here not as a job, but rather as a ministry, and I am loathe to let him go — even as excited I am for him to have this new chapter in his life.

There will be plenty of opportunities in the coming months to offer more thanksgivings for Ara’s work and legacy. For now, I want to let you know how committed I am to helping UPC find the right person to inherit Ara’s baton, to nourish the rich harmonic soul of our congregational life, and to steward our music ministry into the next generation.

As that process comes together, I will be sure to communicate it with all of you. Tonight, however, I simply stand in awe of the dear service of my good friend – and of the grace of God that puts a song in my heart:  Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear that music ringing. It finds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?
Matt Gaventa
Senior Pastor
University Presbyterian Church
2203 San Antonio St.
Austin, TX 78705
Office:  upc@upcaustin.org
Pastor Matt Gaventa:  pastor@upcaustin.org
University Presbyterian Church upcaustin.org