Dear Oak Hill Community,
With so much love in my heart, tonight I told the Session that I am resigning my position as pastor at Oak Hill Presbyterian Church. My last day with you will be on November 17th. I have accepted a call to serve as the Designated Pastor at Church of the Pilgrims in Washington, DC beginning in January of the new year.
I have loved every moment of these last 7 years we’ve shared ministry and community and life together here at Oak Hill and in St. Louis. And, in all of this good ministry we have done together in this place, I am simply too far away from my family. During this extended pandemic season, that longing in my heart to be nearer my family grew. Into that longing God worked in a mysterious way to bring me into conversation with a wonderful and passionate congregation in that city by the Potomac. The folks who gather at Church of the Pilgrims are small congregation with a commitment to justice and hospitality, who love creative worship, enjoy meaningful fellowship, and are excited about how God is calling them to serve in new ways in this new time. And through a lot of conversation and even more prayer, together with them, I have discerned that God is calling me to join them in ministry at this time.
Even as it breaks my heart to leave us.
From the moment of my first visit to St. Louis, you have loved me, encouraged me, inspired me, and challenged me. You taught me how to be a pastor. You showed me how to be community. You guided me in the ways of parenting and in the ways of processed cheese-food eating. You took me to concerts and on float trips and brought me into your homes for holiday meals. We read books together, we set up shelter beds together, we played foosball together, we drank coffee-communion together. We marched in the streets together and we cried in hospital rooms together. We sang together in in the sanctuary and we sat awkwardly together in separate tiny little zoom boxes together for online pandemic worship. We made go-bags together, we did play-doh bible study together, and we did so many craft projects together. We trapped squirrels and racoons and bats together. We danced and laughed and engaged in general silliness together. We shared life and faith and hope together.
And it has been so beautiful, and life-changing, and wonderful. And I love you so very much. It is terribly hard for me to imagine driving away from this life and ministry that we have shared together. And yet, God has called. And I know the faithful thing for me to do at this moment is to follow.
In the coming days and weeks, and with the support of the Presbytery, I will be meeting with our committees to make preparations for the smoothest transition possible (yes, I already have lists made!). Oak Hill is a strong, healthy, and adaptable community and you absolutely have leaders and resources in place to guide you through this change.
The Session has called a Congregational Meeting for Sunday Nov. 7, 2021 after worship, when we will formally dissolve our pastoral call (and receive the report from the nominating committee, and receive the asking budget for 2022).We will be sharing more logistical details and next steps at that time.
Until then, I invite you to join me in praying to the God who I am certain knows how special this place is, that God will be especially present with us in this time. I give thanks for all of our moments and ministry shared, and pray in confidence for whatever God has in store for Oak Hill next.
With so much love,