Dear Friends in Christ:
After Connie left teaching in 2010, the year I turned 65, we sometimes talked about retiring “someday.” We are extremely close to our three kids and seven grandkids, and the idea of spending more time with them always sounded quite attractive. Travel, too, is a very fun hobby for us.
But every time I seriously considered retiring, I felt an overwhelming restless in my soul – I just couldn’t be comfortable with the idea of leaving the people I love at Church of Joy!
However, the reoccurrence of my cancer in September has served as a “wake-up call” of sorts, causing Connie and me to think even more seriously about retiring. After much prayer and reflection, we feel God’s leading to retire, effective June 30.
My decision to say good-bye is likely the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make! I’m not sure it’s possible to be more grateful than I am for the privilege of serving as your pastor! I have told you often how well you listen to God’s message, which I take as a clear indication of your desire to know Christ better, and to honor Him as your Lord and Savior.
Though Connie and I will leave you with a clear sense that this is “the right decision,” God’s will, please know that we will have a giant vacuum in our hearts. We will truly miss you! As the Apostle Paul wrote one of his churches, “I thank my God in every remembrance of you.”
I can’t finish this memo without sharing my sense of gratitude to the Lord for the opportunity to serve Christ all these years with Roy and Dorothy. Their unique gifts for music ministry have richly blessed our worship services, and our hearts, as well!
We still have five months together. By God’s grace, each Sunday will mark a wonderful opportunity to worship our Great God. I truly look forward to sharing these times with you, as we grow in our faith-commitment to the One who laid down His life so that we might experience life eternal. To Him alone be glory, honor and praise!
In His Love, Pastor Rich