young lonDear Friends in Christ,

I knew one day this letter would be written; I just never knew what the circumstances might be.  After nineteen years of ministering with the church family we’ve come to love here in Madisonville, God has impressed on Pat’s and my hearts that it is time to retire.  He has allowed for so many good and meaningful memories - I have truly been blessed to serve with you as pastor.  The reality is that in a few short weeks, I will be 68 years old, and God has convinced me of some things over the past several months.

At First Presbyterian Church, we provide many opportunities for personal spiritual growth, outreach, and evangelism.  For those who are active in the church, I feel very good about where we are.  And yet, there are many more beyond our building we could be and should be reaching.  In order to follow Christ’s mandate to “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation”  (Mark 16:15), I firmly believe it’s time for fresher ideas and perspectives to rise up, building on what has been done to date.

Retirement is not an easy decision for me to make.  In all my years of ministry, I have had very few days I did not want to “get up and go to work in the morning.”  Although the decision has not been easy for Pat or me, our feeling that God is leading us through the process has made it simpler to understand.

The past year and a half have brought a lot of changes within our own family dynamics.  I believe that through the recent events in our family, coupled with the forced, frozen time of COVID-19 introspection, God has shown us many things.  What I’m learning is to listen as well as I can for God’s word in the midst of a plethora of voices.

Pat and I have been so blessed to be a part of First Presbyterian Church’s history.  You have taken us in, and you are our family.  We have served God together in so many ways, we’ve fellowshipped together, and we've learned together.  The church’s prayer life has sustained us and the community.  Our outreach has brought in the homeless, offered sanctuary to all kinds of folks without spiritual refuge, and gone beyond our walls into the community, throughout the country, and into the whole world.  You are amazing and we will thank God continually and always for who you are.  But we also pray fervently that who you are might become more - all that Christ has intended for you as His church, by the power of His Holy Spirit.

With all this being said, my official retirement is scheduled for September 1, 2020.  There are still details to be worked out for the church going forward and for Pat and myself, too.  My intent is for all of us to be as open and transparent as possible in all things.