About a month ago, I was on the phone with a friend when I heard a terrifying noise coming from my kitchen. It sounded like an animal being skinned alive. But alas it was my washing machine. It took a few days to find what I thought was the right repair company to come and resolve the issue, quickly. Alas it was not. A replacement part had to be ordered and then once it arrived the tech would come back and install the part, a job he said would take 2-3 hours. We signed an agreement, and I was charged for the $400 part, but the tech kept rescheduling the service appointment.
As my laundry was piling up, I was getting frustrated and creative with how to get minimum laundry done without inconveniencing my friends and further jamming my own schedule. After the 4th cancellation from the tech, I called the company which had a great website but in the end was just a clearing house for appliance technicians, around the country. I finally realized that the tech was not super busy. The job was beyond his skill set.
After some difficult conversations we agreed to part ways and I decided that it was wiser to invest in a new washing machine and dryer (because they’re stackable and can only fit in one place) than patch the current machine which is probably as old as the time we have been serving together at FPC.
Yet, I have not yet purchased my new equipment. I am waiting until the Memorial Day sales and in the meantime, getting by with friends and the odd drop off at a “wash and fold”. Without my washing machine I can’t just wear what I want or quickly wash the perfect outfit easily. It takes planning and support. I know when I purchase and get the new machines installed, I will appreciate being able to do laundry how and when I want, along with learning new cycles and fabric treatment. I’m both excited and anxious.
After May 21st, which is my last day of sharing Mission and Ministry together, you will be in a similar position. Anxious as to how to function and hopefully also excited to find out what God has in store for the next iteration of Christ’s church. There will certainly be lots of good conversations and planning both with Session and Deacons and their committees. You will also be guided the Presbytery and the very capable Committee on Ministry rep, Betty Darcy, who just went through this process at her church in Morristown. Because they were patient, listened to one another, and to God’s leading they called a wonderful New Head of Staff as well as a gifted Associate Pastor.
I know you are capable of finding the right next leader for FPC as well.
Please try to be patient. You can’t rush the process any more than you can speed a washing cycle once it has begun.
Please don’t overload the staff or the leaders as you go through this process, just like overloading a washing machine with too much soap or too many clothes cause undue stress on the machine and the clothes don’t come out fresh and clean.
Please also take time to find the right interim pastor to guide you through this process instead of rushing to find someone who ultimately is not a good fit, like my appliance tech.
Lastly, take good care of one another so that you can find the right interim pastor and he or she can help you discern and find the next right pastor to go another long distance together. That is the history of this church. I’m sure that’s thy my machines lasted well beyond the 10 years I’ve owned them, because the previous owner took good care of them before I did.
I wish and pray that you can be patient and trusting of this process, as well as a non-anxious presence for one another. As St Augustin prayed “ Oh God, our hearts are always restless until they find their rest in you.”
If you follow God’s leading, you will find a new pastor who will be exactly what you want and need and you will have the same “peaceful, easy feeling” that I felt, when you called me.
“With you” as we seek to honor and celebrate all the good we have accomplished while praying prayers of thanksgiving for such a long and wonderful journey together.