As your current District Superintendent I write to confirm your new appointment to Old Hickory UMC in the Cumberland District for th 2010-11 conference year…
So began the letter that I opened a few minutes ago, a letter that is not unexpected, but surreal in my current context of coordinating flood relief efforts in Southeast Nashville. I’ve known for many months that a change was coming, and the projection of my moving to Old Hickory has been floating around for the past 8 weeks or so, but it’s one thing to know intellectually that change is coming, and another thing entirely to see it in print.
It is a change that comes with great loss, for I have loved the Antioch church and rooted myself in the surrounding community. For the past two weeks I have given myself to this community, and it seems odd in the midst of a great crisis to pull up stakes and say bye. The Antioch United Methodist Church has been family to our family, raising me up in ministry and teaching me things that will go with me throughout my life. The decision to leave was not an easy one, but while we’ve had a good run, I continue to believe that the life of the congregation will be enhanced by someone with new vision and energy.
It is also change that comes with great anticipation, for I am excited about my potential ministry in Old Hickory. From the first days that our family drove the streets of the community to scope things out, the move has felt right. It is a congregation that has been doing great things and is poised to even more greatness, and I look forward to being along for the ride as we discern God’s will for the future. I knew I was in the right place when my first meeting with the SPRC (the checkout meeting) was filled with laughter. I really don’t know what’s ahead for me and our family, but it seems pregnant with potential.
Change is part of the UM clergy life. It’s never easy, but it comes whether we like it or not, and it is filled with both sorrow and joy, regret and anticipation. And in our life, it is staring us in the face.
To the people of the Old Hickory UMC, I look forward to being with you soon. To the people of the Antioch UMC, I ain’t gone yet.
It’s official, so let’s get ready.