Sunday, March 24, 2013

Important Announcement Regarding Pastor Jared Littleton

Announcement by Ted Lux, SPRC Chair

As Staff Parish relations chair I have an important announcement to make this morning…one that I didn’t expect to be making and one you’ll be surprised to hear. Pastor Jared will be leaving us. His last Sunday service is June 23rd.

It’s interesting seeing your facial expressions. Jared, I didn’t see any expressions of relief! 
I know what you’re thinking, “You’re kidding, right Ted? How about a few details?”
Well, Jared is actually not going to another church. It is anticipated that as of July 1st, Bishop John Hopkins will appoint Pastor Jared to be a resident chaplain at the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic. As you know Jared was in training there last fall and so it’s obvious that he must have made a big impression on somebody down there!

The Methodist church uses what is called, the itinerant ministry, meaning the Bishop appoints pastors to serve in our churches for missional reasons. Bishop Hopkins sends pastors to mission fields where their gifts might best be used for the mission and ministry of a certain community as well as for the church at large. The Bishop, in consultation with the cabinet, has prayerfully determined this new appointment for Jared.

Our District Superintendent, Peggy Streiff, will be in consultation with our Staff Parish Relations Committee to help the cabinet and Bishop Hopkins to discern the pastoral leadership which will be able to help us continue our mission and ministry at Independence.  
The results of the congregational meeting with Seven Hills on April 7th will also be communicated to the cabinet and Bishop Hopkins as part of this process. You will be kept informed as our SPRC works with Rev. Streiff.

Jared has worked very hard to keep this church pointed in an onward and upward direction. He’s helped us establish a meaningful purpose. Despite his relative youth he has skillfully guided us through some very tough times…mainly the budget crisis last summer that has left us stronger. 
And so, May God bless Jared and his future wife, Danielle. May they be fruitful in bearing any number of new little Christians! 
And may God guide the Bishop, Cabinet and those of us on SPRC, in discerning how we will go forward in fulfilling God’s mission for us.

Statement by Pastor Jared Littleton
I can imagine that there are mixed emotions in response to this announcement.   Though I am pleased that the Cabinet has agreed to appoint me to this chaplaincy position, I am of course also sad for the goodbyes that this will necessarily entail.  This new appointment will allow me to continue to explore God’s call on my life, will help me to continue down the path toward ordination in the United Methodist Church, and will provide Danielle and me the opportunity to attend church together in our first year of marriage.
I also wanted to speak for a minute about the effect this may or may not have on your discernment about forming a new relationship with Seven Hills UMC.  I am encouraged that this announcement will help to provide clarity to you about the path forward.  I continue to believe that God is calling this congregation to enter into a new relationship with our sister congregation in Seven Hills.  However, as I have emphasized all along, this is a decision that the congregation needs to make irrespective of who the pastor of the congregations will be.  Now more than ever, it should be clear that this is your decision to make under the guidance of our Lord and Savior.  I will continue to walk with you in this process and to help you to prepare for any changes that may be ahead.  Furthermore, I want to ensure you that Rev. Peggy Streiff has been closely following our conversations and will be well informed as to your final decision.  The work that has been done and the decisions made will be communicated to your future pastoral leadership so that he or she may continue this journey with you.
Thank you for your kindness and hospitality.  I look forward to our continued work in the months ahead.

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