Dear friends in Christ,
Five and a half years ago you called me to be your pastor. And, for these past five and a half years, you’ve (hopefully) watched me actually become one! After all, this has been my first call to ordained ministry. As we all do in new professional roles, I was inevitably going to make mistakes, face challenges I had never faced before, and, of course, be completely surprised by the many joys, griefs, and questions of this place. For this reason – and for many others – Christ the King/Cristo Rey will forever occupy a special place in my heart.
Christ the King is the place where I first raised the bread and the cup and announced Christ’s presence and forgiveness in the sacrament of Holy Communion. This is the place where I first baptized babies and young people into the family of God, washing them in the promises of God’s mercy and grace. I have grown as a preacher, especially as I have listened and learned from your stories, from your encounters and experiences of God in daily life. I’ve visited your workplaces and homes and hospitals, and, over the past year-and-a-half, I suspect I’ve shown up on many of your television sets and computer screens! I have walked with young people through the rite of confirmation, worked construction in Appalachia, summited peaks in Montana, donned many silly costumes for Vacation Bible School, traveled across the world to our partners in Tanzania, and learned the best way to get a good crust on a pizza baked in a wood-fired oven.
What a strange and wondrous calling this has been. And what a strange and wondrous place Christ the King is! As I move onto a new call to campus ministry, the people of Christ the King will remain in my prayers. There is so much goodness here. God’s Spirit is breathing new life and vitality into this place (as She always has), calling Christ the King into a future that none of us can fully know or control.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for entrusting me with your stories. For inviting me into your lives and praying for me and for my family. We are the body of Christ, broken and given for the life of the world! Though our paths are now diverging, nothing will ever separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Even in a difficult time of transition, this fact brings me great joy, and strength for the journey to come.
May God bless you and keep you, dear friends and partners in the gospel of Jesus Christ.