June 14, 2020
Dear Saints of Trinity UMC,
The moving trucks are unpacked. The drive-by goodbye is over at Aldersgate. We’ve made the turn and are heading west. The trucks have dropped their loads and most of our stuff will go into the garage as we await the contractors to complete their work. For at least a little while we’ll be living at our cabin down in Hoodsport. It’s a time of transition, of change, of challenges, of endings and beginnings. We’re excited to begin our time in the beauty that is the North Peninsula and my time as pastor with you, Trinity. But with all of that said, to begin, I want to offer my congratulations to Bill and Jenny; for nine years as servant leaders with you, and now, my prayers as they head into retirement.
I’ve known Bill Green for almost forty years. I knew his parents before meeting him.
Over the years I’ve become more aware of his gifts, his grace, his bowties, his dry sense of humor, his skills in preaching and teaching, and his ability to cast and then live out a vision. In the past few months, he has become a personal gift. His are an amazing combination of gifts. I know they and he will be missed. But Bill was not in ministry alone. I heard about Jenny long before officially meeting her. I’d heard about her grace, her love, her generosity, her wisdom, and her hospitality. Now that I’ve met her and spent some time with her, I’ve found her to be a bright, warm beacon who’s light shines no matter where she is or who she’s with. Like Bill, hers are an unusual combination of gifts. The combination of the two of them has been a treasure and a gift to you as a church. There is no doubt but that they will be missed, but I assure you, they will always have a place here at Trinity.
Nine years in one parish is a long appointment. It allows for deeper relationships, a sense of and response to a vision. Nine years offers an opportunity to establish a more specific identity. It allows a pastor to become known, not only in the church but in the greater community. These would be the normal aspects of nine years of ministry together. But what you and Bill and Jenny have accomplished together isn’t normal. It’s exceptional. Your decision to work with The Church of the Resurrection was obviously pivotal. Your embracing of radical hospitality has become a part of your DNA, and has certainly played a part in facilitating growth. Your decision to focus on retirees was both courageous and risky, but the way you’ve taken it on has allowed God to use you in ways that you may not have expected. Your courage, persistence, your passion, your hospitality, your active involvement in the community, and yes, your growth have become an example of what a church can be and do. It has also become increasingly obvious to me that the Holy Spirit is actively involved in every step, every decision, every element of Trinity. Jesus has been your example, while God has led and filled you. It is a rare privilege to step into such a church. Becoming your pastor is an answer to my prayers, and a responsibility I don’t take lightly.
I remember the stirring in my heart a few months back. You just kept coming to mind. I knew that Bill was retiring. But it was much deeper than his retirement. The Godly nudge began to grow so I called my District Superintendent. We talked about a potential move and what that might mean for Aldersgate. That led to a meeting with your Superintendent, Rev. Mark Galang. He and I talked, prayed, and then spent time discerning God’s will. It was about a month later that I received the call; the call where Mark officially asked if I would like to make the move to Trinity. I immediately answered “YES.” He asked if I wanted to pray about it. I shared that I’d been praying about it for a month. Then, as the announcements took place in both churches, Bill and I began to meet. I met Patricia Guthrie. I met the Staff Parish Committee albeit online. Together, covered in prayer, we made the decision that this was the right move. Now, over the past few months, Bill and I have had multiple meetings, exchanges, and even a few strategic discussions. Patricia and I have spoken numerous times. With each meeting, each conversation, each visit I’ve become more and more excited. I thank God for you, for Patricia, and for Bill.
I have appreciated Bill’s willingness to include me in a variety of things; knowing the financial situation, being involved in the discussions around reopening, sharing about some of the current issues like the potential construction of a separate space for Tim’s Place, the issues around security of the church, and even the centricity of music to everything you do. He’s shared about the choir…and oh what a choir. He’s shared about the gift of the organ…and oh, what an organ. And I’ve watched in awe as the musicians have created some great music. I am also aware of the growing controversy around the Meth Clinic. I am aware of some of Sequim’s responses to the death of George Floyd; the protests, the coronavirus, and certainly become more aware of what Sequim seems to be about. I also know that I’ve only scratched the surface.
Going deeper will come with time and with relationships with each of you.
Now, I ask a couple of favors; first your patience. The closing of our new home in Sequim was delayed by eighteen days, mostly because of the coronavirus. Because of the delay we’ve had to move into two houses rather than just one. We’re currently waiting for the contractors to complete their work at our home in Sequim. That has caused us to have to store a fair amount of items at our cabin in Hoodsport. For at least another week, the cabin will be our primary home. We hope to move into the Sequim house by no later than June 23. While we’re waiting I’ll be in Sequim at least two or three times a week. While waiting I will be attending a variety of meetings at Trinity. So patience is the first favor. Second, I’m going to be asking Marian to send out a questionnaire of sorts. Given that we won’t be able to meet in person, at least as much as I would like, the questionnaire would allow me the chance to get to know you until we have the chance to share a cup of coffee or tea. Please know that there is no pressure to fill it out. If you complete it just drop it off at the church office or email it back to me. It will allow me to know a little more about each of you. I’ll fill it out as well and make mine available.
For now, as Bill and I approach Sunday, July 5, I wanted to share that the hymn that keeps coming to mind is “How Can I Keep From Singing.” It’s what is going on in my heart. The scriptures that come to mind are two of my favorites. The first is from the 10th chapter of Hebrews. The author writes, “And let us consider how we might stir one another up or spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Jeremiah is the other. In chapter 29, verses 11 – 13 he writes, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to build you up and not to harm you, plans to give you hope, and offer you a future. Then you will call on me, and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me, particularly when you seek me with all of your heart.” No matter our situation, no matter the struggles we may be going through, God is with us hoping, longing, anticipating that we are seeking Him. As you know, it’s when we seek that we find. I mean, look at what you’re already doing. And now, as we go through the multiple levels of this time of transition let’s continue to seek, and stir up, and spur on. Let’s pray together and find the next pieces of what God hopes to bring to and from Trinity United Methodist Church. I look forward to taking it all on together.
In Faith, Pastor Brad