By now you will have heard the news that I will be leaving Oakland in late June to return to my home conference, and that pastor Kim Dewey will be appointed to Oakland as your pastor as of July 1st. As is with the history and tradition of our denomination, changes in pastors happen.
During this difficult past year, as we faced the unexpected and unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, I have tried, and the lay leadership have tried, to do our best in leading in ways we never thought we never thought we would have to. Who knew in March of 2020 that a year later we would have a virtual presence and multiple services?
First with worship and sermon videos posted on the church Facebook page and YouTube channel, and now with Zoom worship, Oakland UMC now has an online video presence which serves the members of our congregation. But it also has an audience that reaches beyond Oakland, throughout the state, and even beyond Iowa. This is a good ministry, which I hope will continue.
Lions Park during the summer and fall provided a beautiful place for in-person worship for those who felt safer worshipping together outside.
Worship in our church building, while I lead worship in the park and now, virtual worship via zoom, has led to lay people to step up to the challenge and develop their gifts for leading worship. Now we have an entirely lay-led worship service that involves both youth and adults in leadership. I celebrate and affirm this development of lay leadership in worship and hope that it continues. I believe it will prove valuable as Pastor Kim begins her ministry here.
This past year has been filled with uncertainty and anxiety for our church, our families, our
communities, our businesses, our schools, our health. Just like in our communities and our country, discerning a path for our church has brought together various and even apposing ways of getting there. What has remained, however, is the one true reason we are a church, belief the saving grace of Jesus Christ.
In the midst of this time of transition, as I prepare to move on to another appointment, I pray for all of you and for Pastor Kim and her husband as they prepare for their move from Aurelia to Oakland. And I ask for your prayers as David and I prepare for our move back to the Pacific Northwest.
My last Sunday preaching and leading worship will be June 6th. During the remainder of June, David and I will be finishing up our packing and preparations for moving so that the parsonage can be ready for Pastor Kim and her husband by July 1st.
I commit to being the best pastor I can be for this congregation until I leave at the end of June.