“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1, NRSV
God wove the changing of the seasons into the fabric of creation. Day turns into night which turns into day. Spring turns into summer which turns into fall which turns into winter which turns into spring. I was blessed by the wisdom of a good friend early in my marriage and ministry. She assured me that every season carries its own special joys. So, she counseled, “relax and savor the season you are in.” I have found her words of wisdom to be true. I have been blessed by so many different seasons that have brought their own special joys and their own special challenges. I am approaching another change of seasons knowing that I will have to let go of some things to take hold of others.
I will be retiring from active pastoral ministry on June 30, 2021. I have treasured the season of serving as the West District Superintendent working closely with the bishop and cabinet and West District clergy and churches. I can’t think of a better way to end my pastoral ministry. It has been a joy to walk alongside pastors and churches as we all seek to serve Christ and grow as his disciples. Serving on the cabinet and working so closely with a dedicated team of servant leaders has also been a special joy and a privilege. Giving all district clergy an opportunity to be with other clergy in a team atmosphere is one of the blessings the time of COVID brought to us in the West District. In our weekly Zoom clergy conversations, I have seen clergy from across the district give and receive support, sharing laughter, hardship and caring with each other in ways I rarely experienced in local church ministry. It’s something I hope will continue.
My husband, George and I have a long bucket list and we are feeling our biological clocks ticking. We intend to spend more time with our family not just for special events and holidays, but to savor and enjoy ordinary times together. We have many adventures in mind with several major trips planned when COVID is under control. We are looking forward to doing detective work on our family histories and enjoying our creative interests. We intend to get involved in a local church and put roots into a community of faith again. I have been praying, “Lord, what do you want to do through me next?” I think the answer to that question has yet to unfold but will include transformative ministry work through Trinity Opportunity Alliance and some advocacy work towards policies that will lead to racial equity.
I thank God for the seasons of serving as pastor in six churches. I hold treasured memories from each faith community. I thank God for Bishop Bob Hoshibata and my colleagues and friends on the cabinet. I thank God for the district lay leaders and so many laity who have worked with me over the last three years as we sought to strengthen the churches we loved. And I thank God for so many pastors who have companioned with me and worked alongside me in serving Christ through serving the church. I have a few more months to savor in this season. The change of seasons brings new energy and anticipation as this season comes to a close and I lean into what is to come. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” and God is with us through it all.
Grace and peace,