After more than 9 years of ministry here in Washington State, I have accepted a call and in May I will join the ministry staff of Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. Hudson Memorial is a large congregation with abundant opportunities for me to continue my ministry with youth, college students, and young adults. There are many ways for Nicole to continue in her ministry, and Jaxson will join right into the popular weekday preschool at the church. We are so excited.
In 2006, Nicole and I attended a conference in North Carolina. The food was great, the people were nice, and the weather was pretty amazing - even though it was November. We loved it. On the plane ride home we talked about whenever we were ready to make a move, North Carolina should be at the top of our list. We never imagined less than 5 years later we would be making plans to live there.
This past summer, Nicole and I began to seriously talk about what was next for us. We decided that I would slowly begin to look for jobs that fit into a pretty particular list of desires we shared for our next ministry. Over a little more than 3 months, I applied for 3 jobs in Florida, Missouri, and this one in North Carolina.
Right in the middle of this, we found out that Julianne was on the way. Needless to say, finding out that you are having a baby changes things. Nicole told me she would be more comfortable having the baby here. We know the doctors, we know the hospital, and we have an amazing church we knew would support and care for us just as they had when Jaxson was born. So I stepped away from the search process at these 3 churches and stopped looking for any others where I might be interested in applying.
A few weeks later, I got another email from this church in North Carolina asking if I'd be up just for having a chat with them. I agreed and things must have went well because after a few more talks, we took a trip out to check out the ministry at Hudson. A few days later, they offered me a job and were willing to work within the timeline we needed. Nicole and I both knew the Spirit was at work.
This was a tough decision for Nicole and me. We love our church here so much. I am so honored to serve Jesus alongside such a committed and dedicated congregation. Yet, our family is growing. We are outgrowing our house. We really feel that now is the time. None of these make leaving any easier though.
I took this picture on our Senior High summer mission trip in 2005:
It is one of my favorite pictures that I have ever taken. Not because of my (lacking) photography skills, but because of what the picture is saying.
I had it stuck on a bulletin board in my office for a long time and over and over, folks would ask me if this was a picture of a sunrise or a sunset. Anyone who knows me has a pretty good idea of what time of day I'd be alert enough to take a picture like this, but I think the not knowing is what I love about it - the sun is both rising and setting.
My more than 9 year ministry here on Whidbey Island may be setting, but what we have done is only beginning to rise. We have built something that will long out last me - it is much bigger than me. And I am honored to have had a part in it.
The same is true for my new ministry - the sun is rising on a new adventure.
What a life! I am leaving a job I genuinely love to accept one with even greater opportunities.
It is an honor you care enough to share in our story. Nicole and I will both be updating as we are preparing to head east. Prayers are appreciated over these next 4 months.
If you are interested, here is a copy of the letter I mailed to our entire congregation on Wednesday informing them I would be leaving: