Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Curiouser and Curiouser" -- I''m Still the Pastor

That is our district superintendant (like a biship) up front, not me. (LOL) He was here some time back as we rededicated our building after major remodeling.

Readers of this blog know that I recently resigned as pastor of my church. My last Sunday was supposed to be this next one, March 2nd. I know that many people, some who know me in real life and many who do not, have been concerned and have been praying for me and for the church. I thank each of you for the prayer, and for the encouragment and emails, and so on.

No one was more surprised than I was when things began to change. I don't know how to explain it, so I'll just post an edited version of the letter I wrote to the church.

Dear Jubilee Congregation,

... I intended to share...last week, but the ice storm prevented us from having a church service. Today I am in Seattle because of my sister’s funeral. Next Sunday was scheduled to be my last day as your pastor.

...I was sensing something new. I contacted our deacons and asked them to pray earnestly with me for God’s direction...
I am going to stay as your pastor, if you will permit me.

As I have already told you, I left for my sabbatical feeling deeply disturbed...I believe the Holy Spirit spoke two things to me. That is not a phrase I use lightly....
The second was that I needed to “step out of the road.” I returned...still unclear about what to do...I wanted to be sure not to make a mistake...I simply had to trust and obey God. This realization brought peace, even though I was sad.

So I resigned and tearfully told you all good bye...
Almost immediately, I began to resolve, new commitment, new generosity, and new love among us.

Resigning was not a mistake—it was a strange part of what needed to happen here. It helped many of us wake up and face facts. Something happened in your hearts...Something also happened in me as I surrendered each of you completely to God. For reasons only God fully knows, I had to take that...step. You had to take it with me. And somehow in the middle of it all, God was at work.

God may keep me [at the church] for six months, a year, or ten years. We will leave that in God’s hands. Meanwhile, let’s love each other and love our Savior with all our hearts. Let’s work side by side. Let’s pick up our spiritual armor and put it on once again. I will stand together with those of you who will join me.

Pastor "SingingOwl"

Well, I said it was edited. :-)
I know, lots of you know my real name, but that is beside the point.
I still expect some change in my life. I intend to do some writing, and perhaps there will be something that Iwill do (ministry-wise) that is in addition to pastoring here, or perhaps it will be totally new but will come to my attention some time in the future. Or perhaps none of that will happen. I don't know. We are not "out of the woods' here at my church, but we will see what we will see. Meanwhile, here I am.

Life is strange, you know?


HeyJules said...

That is so funny to me because when I read that you were stepping down I just couldn't figure out why...why??? I kept having this feeling that it wasn't going to happen - or that if it did, it would work itself out.

This just made all the hairs on my arms stand on end!

Anonymous said...

Wow. That's really something. I'll sure be praying for God to continue to do great and surprising things in your congregation.

chartreuseova said...

When you announced that you were leaving, I think I commented that I'd email you when I had something coherent to say...I was flabbergasted but I knew you were doing what you needed to do. (And what you were being led to do)

Okay finally, something coherent.

Praise Be To God!

much2ponder said...

I think I am in agreement with the shock of it all. Even though I was with you through much of it, some of it made little sense to me, but God knows and you did what you felt you needed to do. You have an obedient heart and that's a good thing!

Anonymous said...

You can be sure that God's working in your life when the only constant is change :)

I'm happy for you and for your congregation!

LoieJ said...

I can only imagine what you must be feeling and thinking. My husband announced 3 years ago that he was quitting his job, I felt upended. It has been both better and worse. I think he is in his "calling" but he has never seen it that way.

Jules said...

Wow. God's ways are mysterious, no?

Iris Godfrey said...

Praise God you are listening to Him! He works things much differently than we think most of the time. You got it right, and have it right again simply because you are listening. He is after all, in charge.

I too had a sense that you would not be leaving, but it was only a "sense" from far away. Several have comment much the same. No words at the time -- just a sense. Our Lord is so very good.

By the way, although I have ministry credentials with an interdenominational fellowship, my church is A/G and I have been there 19 years. Feel a kinship with you.

Jeni said...

Having read a while back of your decision to resign and then, reading this post today, I have to tell you that as I read it -especially where you said you decided NOT to stay the course on the resignation -I could feel a smile spread across my face and a sense of security and peace flooded through me. YES! I sensed you were -should I say it "floundering" about a bit earlier (only word that came to my mind there, but I'm sure there are others that explain my feelings better) but anyway, now you'd perhaps come full circle and "found" yourself again.

Rev SS said...

Our God is mysterious .. with mysterious ways! Good for you for being open to the movement of the Spirit. Prayers for you and your congregation as you enter this next leg of your journey together.

Chilly Fingers said...

When I read that you were leaving, I felt sad for your congregation AND for you! I couldn't figure it out. I'm glad you're sticking around!

Anonymous said...

Thanks be to God!


net said...

Yeah! Who knows the mind of God?
I will continue to hold you and "your people" (as we UMs call 'em) up in prayer as you all work out the particulars with God's help.

Today I announce to CINS that I'm leaving. And I am at peace!

Blessings, love!

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Net, where are you? Your blog is gone?