Thursday, August 07, 2014

The beginning of goodbye

(first appeared in The Southwest Spirit)

It is with both excitement and sadness that I announce my resignation as pastor of Southwest Baptist Church.  I have accepted a call to become the next pastor of the Stony Creek Congregational Church in Branford, Connecticut.  Tara, Isaiah, and I will be moving to Connecticut in the next month; Tara and Isaiah’s last Sunday with Southwest Baptist will be August 24, while my final Sunday as pastor at SWBC will be September 7.

We are very excited about this next step in the journey in which God is leading us.  Tara has already accepted a teaching position – which is why she is leaving early – and we both feel God’s hand in this very different type of challenge.  We will treasure your well-wishes and prayers.

We are also very sad.  We have served with Southwest Baptist Church for 8 ½ years, though we can hardly believe it has been that long.  Our SWBC family has been a part of our starting our family; we have loved Southwest Baptist Church and you have loved us back.  Over these next several weeks, we will have multiple occasions to say goodbye and to reflect on wonderful days.  These will be difficult, but important, moments.

Finally, I want to take the first of several opportunities to share how much I believe in Southwest Baptist Church.  You are a wonderful people and I believe God has a plan for this church right here in south St. Louis.  One of the reasons this decision has been so hard for me is that I do believe in what God is doing and can do through Southwest Baptist in this community.  I’m genuinely hopeful of exciting days still to come at SWBC and it is difficult to know we will not get to be a part of them.

Please feel free to contact me over this next month, by email or phone, with questions or to just visit.  I will be working with the ministry team chairs, staff, and deacons to help the church be as ready as she can be for this new chapter.  I ask for prayer for our family as we prepare to transition and move further geographically than we ever dreamed we would.  Where God leads can be both exciting and scary – but the Spirit-led life is never dull.

Grace and peace,
Pastor James