Greetings Church Family,

We are eager for this opportunity to celebrate and communicate a lesser known process in the life of the church. When a pastor retires from formal ministry with a congregation, it is customary for the retired minister to refrain from active engagement with the congregation through the period of pastoral transition. This helps ensure the succession of leadership and help build new relationships between pastors and congregants. We have been in co-ministry now together for a period of over 14 months, and it is at this time we have re-engaged Dan and Judy Bryant about their interest in continued involvement in the congregation.

We are thrilled to welcome Dan and Judy Bryant back into the full life of the church as members. Dan and Judy never transferred or withdrew their membership, and so we welcome them back into the body of the church as members. Dan helped in a de-escalation incident in worship last week, and Judy will be singing and playing with church musicians this week.

There are two things to clarify here, and the first is the reminder that Dan is not to be approached with pastoral care concerns. Pastor April, Pastor Zane, or Elder Chair Sharon Warner are the appropriate folks to approach about joys, concerns, and coordination of care for you and your family and friends. And secondly, it’s important to acknowledge that this transition will be an adjustment for Dan and Judy and all of us, after their thirty years of leadership here. Dan and Judy will not be entering into positions of leadership for a while to come. This is to ensure that the continued process of succession, of April and Zane being the team leaders of this congregation, can continue to develop as it has, and so that Dan & Judy can properly retire and focus on their spiritual needs.

And finally, the one thing we’ve all been asking, “When are we going to properly celebrate Dan?” This matters deeply to April and Zane too, because we can’t go forward without recognizing and honoring, in person, the deep contribution that Dan, Judy, and their whole family have made to this congregation and this community. In that light, FCCE is going to host a reception in the spring, hopefully in the month of March, where we will install a portrait of him, gather together, and eat some cookies and share some stories. Please watch for more information to come. We’re grateful for this community, its past, present and future, and the work that we have to do together in this next chapter. Thank you for welcoming Dan & Judy back.

See you all Sunday,