From the Pastor – Summer 2023

The words that follow represent my last newsletter contribution.  While I will continue to serve as your pastor through the end of August, The Tidings that comes out the following month will include an article from someone else. That reality caused me to pull out the file containing all of the previous occasions I sought to bring a word to you about what had happened or was ahead for this body of faith. Looking through those articles brought back so many memories of the joys and blessings from our twenty years together. It has been an amazing journey and as it begins to wind down, I want to share a word here about our relationship moving forward.

Following my final Sunday and in all the years to come, I will still hold you and our church in prayer, continue to be a proud advocate for DPC and celebrate the wonderful things occurring here, but I will no longer be your pastor. What that means in a practical sense is that I cannot return to officiate at funerals, baptisms, or weddings with the exception of nuptials already scheduled. I cannot be the one to visit on behalf of the church when you are in the hospital, nor the one to whom you turn if frustrated by some Session decision, and after a trip to Italy in 2024 will no longer lead tours composed of church members.  In addition, Lori and I will not be present at DPC on Sunday mornings or joining you for educational, social, or mission events in the near future, but instead will step away. We will continue to worship with you online and certainly enjoy those occasions when we gather socially or happen to see you somewhere in the Doylestown community, but our day-to-day connection will look very different.

All of those changes will be incredibly difficult as I have loved being your pastor and have been honored to share in such moments with you. Still, you need the space to prepare for and form a new bond with your next pastor. That process would be impaired if I held onto any of the patterns of relating formed during our two decades together. My predecessor, Bill Barger, offered that same gift to me on his retirement in 2000 and it made all the difference. Thus, as a professional courtesy to your next pastor and as my parting gift to you, I will do the same.

Even as I offer that word, I am glad that we still have three more months together and thus ample time to talk about this news and its implications. If you’d like to do so, I’d welcome that chance, but wanted to make you aware now of what the future will look like and the change ahead. 

The final message, though, in concluding my 217th article as pastor of this amazing body of faith, is that I want you to know of my profound love and gratitude for the journey we have shared and the privilege of having served alongside you all these years. You have enriched my life and that of my family in ways that cannot be measured, but will clearly endure. For that gift, and the countless blessings during our two decades I thank you and the God behind it all!