As many of you know, my wife Tamara suffers with a rare, terminal neurological disease (multiple system atrophy). She continues to decline, and needs my caregiving support more than ever. I’ve requested from the conference leadership a leave of absence, so that I can care for her full time. That will begin January 1, 2022, and another pastor will come to lead Community.
This is a serious step, because it means that I have very little chance of returning to be pastor of Community, and that saddens both of us. It has been a joy to serve among you, to go through changes together, and to learn about a future that is surely different from the past. I am fortunate that we are able to take this step, and fortunate that the denomination has systems in place to ensure that a pastor will come to take my place.
Though we may guess, there’s a lot we don’t know right now. Above all, we don’t know who will come after, whether you will have an interim or a permanent pastor, or who it will be.
Friends, Community is your church! You are the life of it, the hope of it, and you carry the vision forward. You shape the work and the possibilities at every turn. The programs that work are the ones you decide to support. So even though the time will come when I leave the church, it will go where you take it. And God has entrusted this to you all together, because God believes in you.