The time has passed by swiftly, since first being approached about coming to Cincinnati to serve you on an interim basis. I must admit I had to warm up to the idea as I had no prior interaction with HPCUMC and my only exposure to Cincinnati had been through limited very brief visits over the years. Recalling news cycles of rioting in the city a few years back, along with the coded message of “Job’s friends,” being the most northern southern city furthered my apprehension. It did not take any time to have my fears allayed. Both Karen and I are eternally grateful for your warm welcome and most gracious hospitality. You have reaffirmed my strong belief that the blessings in life and some God’s greatest gifts come from unexpected people in unexpected places. I am indebted to both lay and clergy leadership who over the years have cultivated such warmth and openness. I have enjoyed getting to know you (members and clergy/lay staff alike) and the Greater Cincinnati area.
Know that it has been my high joy and privilege to serve with you over these last four months, and I will forever treasure the opportunity that has been mine. Thank you for allowing me to move beyond my comfort zone, and thank you for moving beyond your comfort zone as well. God is full of wonderful surprises!
Please know that I will hold you and Pastors Cathy and Doug in prayer in your ongoing journey. I truly believe the ingredients are here to have your best days not in your past, but in your future. I encourage you to do the following:
Please welcome your new Senior Pastors with the same warmth and welcome you have given me. In fact do me a favor, andflood them with cards of welcome versus bending their ears with things you may not have liked in the past.
Embrace your past even as you change to claim the future. Please don’t say, “We tried it, and it didn’t work,” or “we don’t do that here.”
Please forgive any hurts and slights from the past and move on with forgiveness and appreciation for all.
Wrap your hearts around both of your ministry/worship campuses and even their unique contexts.
Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
Love and serve all of God’s people.
Find ways to bring the entire HPCUMC family together.
Keep growing in your inclusion of diversity (worship, music, and people).
Take seriously vows made to uphold the church with prayer, presence, gifts, and services.
Finally, may “God be with you till we meet again.”