Now that we know our beloved Pastors Mark and Toby are leaving, a sense of sadness envelopes our church family. They may have been here a shorter time than either party expected, but sometimes things just happen differently than anyone might anticipate. (SAD NEWS) But, their time with us was good and we are all better for having known them. (GOOD NEWS)
As I understand the circumstances that were in play, Pastor Mark was truly 'called' to his new position with the organization on which he has been a board of director member for several years. The Outreach Foundation of the Presbyterian Church USA, founded in 1979, has been active for 35 years disbursing some $100 million in support of God's mission worldwide. The Outreach Foundation connects Presbyterians to God's work in the world in life-changing ways. Pastor Mark brought with him a passion for global mission and mission in general. He has led this congregation's efforts to think outside our building, our town, our state and our nation. And now... The Outreach Foundation wants that passion to lead its efforts globally. I think they picked the right person. (GOOD NEWS)
This congregation knows how to, and is very capable of, handling a change in pastoral leadership. When Sharon and I came to this congregation in late 2013, the church was between pastors. We chose to be here based on the welcoming nature of everyone we met, the very visible positive relationships that exist within the membership of this congregation.... it was not based on the talent and charisma of the pastor... there wasn't one. A pastor doesn't define a church even though that is a key role. A church is defined by its members and how they interact with each other and how they live their faith. This church family is a group that cares about each other and about helping others. That is who we are and what we do. (GOOD NEWS)
Pastor Mark is leaving, but he is leaving us in a very positive position. There are no 'burning issues' that are dividing this congregation, we are in a solid financial position to carry forward doing God's work, and he is leaving us for all the right reasons. FPCV should be viewed as a very vibrant and attractive congregation to any pastor seeking a quality call to a new ministry. (GOOD NEWS)
I am confident GOD will send us our next pastor and that all will be well. Let us not lament nor be sad, the GOOD NEWS is we've been here before and we know we can handle it. And, let us join together in wishing Pastors Mark and Toby the very best as they embark on their next journey in the service of our Lord. May the wind be always at their back.