As you have learned, the Reverend Michael Whitnah has taken a new position in Tennessee. In a church, any staff transition is difficult, but clergy transition seems to be even more so. As a congregation, we have the challenge of celebrating Michael’s new call while recognizing our own loss and continuing to move forward in God’s grace through this time.
Writer Sister Joyce Rupp observes that the rhythm of life is:
Hello, Goodbye, Hello.
Jesus came, died and rose again.
We are welcomed into this world, we live and leave, and then we are welcomed home with God. At All Saints’, even as there are wonderful hellos to our new members, inevitably there is always goodbye. What a blessing it is to be reminded that it doesn’t end at goodbye, but that there will be hello again.
When I think of answering God’s call in our lives, I absolutely believe that God’s call is a blessing for all involved. As Michael is following God’s call to St. Paul’s, God is also laying a call to All Saints’. While we do not yet know their name, God does and has been preparing them for this ministry. Our challenge is to attend to the work we have been given to do as we wait for this to unfold.
I am confident in the ministry at work in this congregation with young people and their families. All the scheduled activities will continue to move forward as planned. This is also a time for new people to find their way into ministry.
In the season after Epiphany, the theme for scripture readings is listening for, and responding to, God’s call. Where are you being called in a new direction where people are waiting to say “hello” to you?