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.

Facing health issues

July 8, 2021

Dear Saints of Trinity,

As difficult as it may be for me to admit, my health has become an issue. Over the past three or four weeks I’ve begun to decline. I’ve found myself with little energy, sometimes disoriented or dizzy, and feeling tired almost all the time. Many of you have noticed that decline, as things have gone undone or slipped through the cracks. Some of you have come in to talk with me about it, while others have shared it with those who work closely with me. To say that Dorothy is concerned is an understatement.

I need to share that I’ve talked with my District Superintendent and we’re trying to come up with a plan at this point. There are any number of options in that plan, but my health is going to take priority whatever options we choose. It’s been a scary, frustrating, and guilt-ridden time these past weeks, and yet, I wanted you to know what’s going on. As decisions are made I simply ask you to pray for me, for Dorothy, and more importantly for all of those who are going through health issues that are much more serious than mine. Each deserves a pastor who can walk alongside them through those challenging times. As I share all of this with you, the scripture that continues to come to mind is Romans 8:28; “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” Let’s hold to that truth.

Please know how deeply I love and admire you and please know that we’ll work through all of this, as long as we can do it together.

Pastor Brad

Some Concerns that we have:

  • Please keep the family and friends of Rev. Jack Anderson, former pastor of Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church, in your prayers at his death. His memorial service is this Saturday, July 10th, 1pm at DVLC. Note this correction: the time is 1 pm not 2 pm as stated last week.
  • Pastor Brad and Dorothy for Brad’s health issues.
  • The family of Mark and Pat Lewis as we prepare for their memorial service which is scheduled for Friday, August 6 at 1 pm.
  • 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 all those who are ill from the Covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; for essential workers; and for those who haven’t been vaccinated yet.
  • For peace in our country.
  • For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.

Recovering

March 25, 2021

Dear Saints of Trinity,

Yup, it was a serious heart attack. As I’ve now said to my family, it was close, very close, way too close. My right ventricular artery was 100% blocked by a combination of broken plaque and a blood clot. There were a few additional circumstances that added to the level of the event. They are not important at this point. They will, however, slow the recovery time just a bit. I arrived at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia by ambulance around 4:30 pm on Saturday. I went immediately into the Cath Lab for surgery. I crashed, not quite fully, while in surgery. Again, it was too close. I arrived in ICU by around 7 pm Saturday evening. I share all of those details for only one reason. It was 40 hours later when I was released from the hospital and headed home (to our cabin in Hoodsport). The doctor was astounded. The nurses couldn’t believe it. Friends, it was because of you and the myriad of others praying for me. Now, I want to be really careful with that statement.

Prayer is a powerful force and works in very mysterious ways. If the outcome had been different, it would not have been because the prayers were not working or felt. If I had died, the prayers would have been equally as effective, as they would have surrounded Dorothy and my family. If this had been a debilitating event, it would not have meant the prayers weren’t working. As you prayed, a blanket of warmth was wrapped around me, Dorothy, my children and family, and all others affected by this heart attack. In this case, to be able to walk out of the hospital 40 hours after arriving was pretty miraculous. It is simply how your prayers worked, how, God worked in this situation. It makes me understand that I’m simply not done yet. And for that, I am incredibly grateful. So, here’s what I’m asking.

Please allow me to move through recovery. Just because I left the hospital earlier than expected in no way means the effects of the attack are in any way diminished. It is going to take time, probably around six weeks. I thank God that Holy Week decisions were already made, grateful that we have so many capable saints who can and are willing to step in and take on whatever may be needed. My plan, at this point, is to celebrate my 66th birthday by being back in the saddle again. It’s on May 7th. If things progress faster, I’ll be talking at length with my cardiologist about how and when to get back. I’ll keep the Trinity leaders informed, and they in turn will keep you informed. They really are a remarkable bunch. Now, just one more thing for now.

In the midst of it all, I found it incredibly ironic that the sermon that preceded this heart attack was focused on health. Please know that every item in that message continues to hold true. We are creations of a loving God who wants the best for us. We are surrounded by the kind of love and grace that moves us toward greater health. We have the ability to engage the power of God in ways that will make us whole. I believe it as strongly now as I did before this attack. This attack was coming in spite of the fact that Dorothy and I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. This attack was coming in spite of the fact that I believe in a miraculous God. Now, we take a bit of a step back, knowing that there are additional things we can do to assure even greater health. I assure you; even promise you, that I will be implementing each of those for the rest of my life. And no, I have no plans for retiring any time soon. We still have work to do, and I can’t imagine a better place to do that work than with you in Sequim at Trinity. Please know that I love you but let me ask one more favor. Allow Dorothy and me time to recover. Talking, emailing, even typing exhausts me very quickly. It will take time but I/we will be back with you. If anything changes, we’ll let you know. I promise.

With love and grace,

Pastor Brad

Some Concerns that we have:

  • Pastor Brad and Dorothy for healing following Pastor Brad’s heart attack.
  • For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. Prayers for those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
  • For all those who are ill from the covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; for all the first responders/essential workers; and for those who are nervous about getting shots.
  • For peace in our country.
  • For smooth delivery of the vaccine. And please pray for all of the volunteers.
  • For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.