Taking leave

August 19, 2021

Saints of Trinity,

I thought it important to give you an update on what’s going on with me. Like physicians and other healthcare workers, social workers, first responders, even counselors, and those dealing with crisis management and mitigation, discoveries and advances have been made in what is now called “Compassion Fatigue and Secondary Trauma.” For those like me who are already dealing with significant levels of PTSD, and whose primary role is the love and care for others, compassion fatigue and secondary trauma can take on a life of their own. As I’ve shared with you before, I have a tendency to take on and take in the sometimes overwhelming needs of others, some of you among them. I take you into my heart and have a very difficult time letting go of what I see and hear. I’ve been doing that for almost thirty years. There comes a point when there is just no more capacity.

I’ve tried over the years to ignore what was going on in me. What I now realize is that they were warning signs. I would continue to try and take things on, therefore deepening the fatigue. There have been certain times in ministry when my body has simply shut down. It happened in my first appointment in ministry. It happened again in Santa Monica after trying to juggle getting my graduate degree, working full time at a church, going through the ordination process, and trying to be a dad and husband, all at the same time. It has happened again here. What began as a heart attack, and then a return to work too soon, plus multiple critical pastoral care and ministerial needs, my body basically said, “ENOUGH!”

Over this past month, I’ve tried to rest, recover, and take full responsibility for my personal health. I took that time as a vacation, although there were periods of work throughout. My hope was to do whatever was needed to get back to you. In spite of all of that, I’ve continued to not only struggle, but get worse. It was at that point that Dorothy and I decided I should apply for medical leave. In other words, take a significant break from ministry. I applied through our Conference, and my application was accepted. There are a few more steps to the process but it’s important to note that I will be stepping aside from ministry. An interim pastor has been assigned so that you will be well taken care of. As a matter of fact, we know who that pastor will be, and it is someone who is seasoned in ministry, and someone who has the energy to take on Trinity and all of its potential. It breaks my heart to step aside, but it is for the best for everyone.

My last Sunday with you will be August 29th. Yes, it’s soon; sooner than anyone could have wanted. At the same time, as the fall schedules begin to ramp up, and programs begin again, there needs to be someone in place who can take on pastoral leadership. You have an incredible group of leaders, some of whom have just been elected into their offices and roles. With Jim Stoffer as Lay Leader, Margaret Cox as Ad Council Chair, Andy Pitts as the head of Trustees, and Patricia Guthrie continuing as SPRC chair, the core leadership team is and has been functioning fully while I’ve been away. Rena has stepped in as Finance Chair, and we have a truly remarkable team leading the worship committee. We have a dedicated staff, all of whom are called to the mission and ministry of Trinity. In other words, the future is very bright.

It has been a rare privilege to pastor this church through this time. It has also been a massive challenge as we’ve faced a pandemic together, coordinated the delivery of over 30,000 vaccinations while working with one of the most amazing groups of volunteers I’ve ever seen. We helped feed thousands of those in need, tried to continue to offer meaningful worship in the midst of all of those challenges, sought to keep programs like Tim’s Place and Lois’s Legacy going, all while doing whatever we could in the community to be a positive force. We walked through deaths together, diseases together, struggles together, disagreements together, alongside incredible joys and accomplishments; and all in just over fourteen months. Yup, just fourteen months. But what a fourteen months it has been.

I will be leading worship this Sunday. Then, my final Sunday will be the following week. I will be moving out of the office during these next couple of weeks to make room for the interim. I also need to share that Dorothy and I will be leaving the area, at least for a while. We’ll be selling our little cottage over in Dungeness Meadows and moving to the cabin full time. We thought and prayed long and hard about this decision, knowing we couldn’t afford to keep both places. This decision made the most sense for us and it has obviously come with some heartbreak. I hope you know how much we love you, and how much we love Sequim and the North Peninsula. We will be visiting, but won’t get in the way of the new pastor. We’ll still be on our beloved Olympic Peninsula, just on the southern end. You will never be out of our hearts, our thoughts, and our prayers…ever. We can’t thank you enough for your love and hospitality, your grace, your patience, and particularly your faith in Christ. Let me close with the scripture I quoted fourteen months ago, and please take this to heart. In Romans, Paul writes, “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” I believe that with all of my heart. I simply ask that you hold on to that as you move through this next phase of life at Trinity.

With Love and Appreciation,
Brad and Dorothy Beeman

Some Concerns that we have:

  • Pastor Brad and Dorothy for Brad’s health issues.
  • For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. For those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
  • For those who haven’t been vaccinated yet; for all those who are ill from the Covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; and for essential workers.
  • For peace in our country.
  • For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.