We owe a big debt of gratitude to our Associate Pastor Search Committee. Dan Cudworth, Don Ha, Melanie Ramirez, Hugh Satterlee, and Carolyn Shepard have worked long and hard to come up with a candidate to present to the congregation. We sifted through cover letters and applications, held phone and live interviews, checked references, processed all this information and prayed. We are also grateful to you for your prayerful support as well.
As you know, our first candidate, Marie Onwuaburiri, accepted a different job as Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Wisconsin. We had a second potential candidate who also accepted a different position before we could make a presentation to the congregation. This is one reason the search has taken so long.
We are now presenting Gregory Stevens for your consideration. We are all in agreement that Gregory is the best candidate for our position of the applications we considered. You can see below background information and our recommendation for your consideration. Gregory will be with us the 22nd and 23rd of August. We will have plenty of time to get acquainted and ask our questions before voting. Look at the material we’ve provided, consider our original proposal for renewal and come prepared to engage Gregory personally. There will be a more informal opportunity on Saturday at a cook-out and more formal one on Sunday as we worship together and then share in a special business meeting.
Let us remember that no one individual will make all the difference that some of us would like to see for our congregation. The committee has tried to make it clear to Gregory that we are looking for someone to help us grow and thrive. He is clear that this is something we will have to do together. We also need to be clear that we are asking Gregory to be creative and innovative in developing ministries for our congregation. We will need to be patient as he learns about our community and open to his suggestions and plans for renewal.
The future is impossible for us to predict, but I believe – and I hope you do, too – that some risks are worthwhile in working toward a future we believe in. That is, whatever is happening with traditional church life in our world, the life of God’s Beloved Community will always have a future. The need for compassion, hospitality and service is as great as it has ever been. As people committed to the Jesus Way, the call to cultivate compassion, to offer hospitality, to serve those in need is fundamental to our identity as a people. Without knowing with any certainty what the future will look like, we can still engage in exploration, development and actualization of whatever it takes to make the Beloved Community real and alive in the world around us. We are asking Gregory to take a significant role in leading us in new directions.
Please feel free to ask the questions you need to ask. Please pray that God will guide us through this phase of our search process. Please consider what you might contribute to efforts toward change as we look together to congregational renewal and a future in the Beloved Community of God.
Yours on the journey,