Dangling to a Close
I am at a loss as I sit down to compose my final Dangling Conversation. I have so much I want to say, yet I find myself not knowing how to express what is on my heart.
I guess you could say, “I’m left dangling!” At a loss for words.
For the past several years I’ve enjoyed sitting down on Tuesday mornings to compose these Danglings. Kim Mantegna, our gifted director of communications, and her staff then formatted my articles, threw in some carefully chosen photos, and the end result found its way to your email on Thursday afternoon. I hope you’ve enjoyed the results!
In the Danglings, I’ve highlighted upcoming events at the church, kept you posted on my latest reads, and shared special moments that I may have encountered recently. There was always plenty to write about and only time constraints kept the weekly editions as brief as they were.
But now, things are shifting. (As you well know!) I’m no longer responsible for next week’s events at Pearce. You have a new lead pastor, a delightful man of God, who is now charged with the oversight of this church. So, what do I say in this last edition of the Dangling?
What I need to say is “Thanks!” But that sounds, at least to my ears, so trite and devoid of the deep emotion that I feel right now.
You have been so gracious to both Mary and me. You have allowed us into your church, your homes, and your lives. How can a simple “Thanks!” suffice?
We have so many special moments to treasure as this stage of our journey comes to an end. All the times in worship when I have marvelously sensed the Spirit’s presence! Those unexpected moments that wondrously emerged during Children’s Moments! (“Pastor Wally, you can dance! You just have to believe in yourself!”) The countless conversations over cups of coffee when we discovered ways in which God’s Story intersected with our own! The many meetings where, in the middle of church business, a funny remark would send us into fits of laughter! Holy moments. Joyous moments! I’ve experienced too many to count, my mind reels at the thought of all I’ve experienced at Pearce over the past decade.
On top of all that, there are those moments when you supported us. Particularly, as we have dealt with Mary’s illness you have been there. Always encouraging, always praying, and always loving.
Thank you, Pearce family. Mary and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
You will remain in our prayers and we anticipate God will take good care of you and this congregation. We celebrate Pastor Roger and Ellen joining the family. We will watch expectantly to see the wonderful ways in which God blesses you through their ministry.
I’m not saying good-bye. After taking some time to step aside and gain my bearings for this new stage of my journey, Mary and I plan to worship at Pearce. We will continue to live at our home in Ogden, so we’d appreciate remaining as a part of this wonderful family. (Our thanks to Pastor Roger for inviting us to do so!)
Again, thank you for being our family. I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner for Pearce!
(The photo was taken Tuesday morning as I enjoyed one last “coffee run” with a great team. They have been a wonderful blessing to me!)
I Welcome as I Leave
This past Sunday, I was privileged to welcome Wes Tagliaferre into Pearce membership. As he stood before the congregation, Wes noted that my receiving him into membership in the closing days of my pastorate reminded him of presidential pardons issued as an administration exits!
What a joy to have Wes and his wife, Becky, as a part of our fellowship! And, Wes, you are pardoned as well!
A Special Privilege
One of the great privileges of a pastor is welcoming a child into the Christian family. I had that privilege this past Saturday evening as Roy and Julie Smith brought their third son, Felix, before the Lord to offer him in Christian baptism. What a joyous occasion!
Many of you have been inquiring about my plans for retirement. I thought I’d update you on plans as they stand at this point.
I already mentioned in an article above that Mary and I will continue to live in Ogden. (Why would we want to live anywhere else?) For at least the next year or two, Mary plans to continue to work at Benefit Resource, a company she’s been with since 1994.
I did accept a part-time position at Roberts as director of chapel. I’ll be working with a great team of people to plan and oversee the Monday and Wednesday chapels on campus. (In the photo above from this past Tuesday, President Porterfield presents me with my new name tag!)
I will also continue to teach at both the college and seminary as an adjunct. I’ll be teaching the course on pastoral formation at Northeastern next semester, as well as a class at Roberts on pastoral care.
I look forward to continuing to preach on occasion. I’m scheduled to preach on November 5 at Edgewood, a congregation I pastored from 1993 to 2007. I am speaking at a retreat for a congregation in Canandiagua, also in November, and have accepted invitations to serve as the camp pastor for the Blackhills Campground in West Virginia in the summer of 2018 and Highlander Camp in Pennsylvania in 2019.
Dr. Wayne McCown warned me, during one of our conversations about retirement, that retirement can be quite busy. I think I’m getting a sense of that as I close out these weeks at Pearce.
I’m grateful for these wonderful opportunities to serve Christ and His Church.
Oh, I almost forgot. I also plan to prepare more meals at home. (Mary asked me to include that statement!) In addition, I look forward to opening many books, taking long walks, and lifting my coffee cup to “Clink! Sip! Ahhhh!” with many friends as we celebrate God’s goodness.