A Letter From the Pastor…
Dear Members and Friends of First Church,
I give thanks to God every day for each one of you! Your faithful witness to social justice, your care for one another and for the world in which we find ourselves, gives me hope and brings me great joy. This is truly a healthy, vital congregation where everyone is invited to share God’s love. It has been my honor and great privilege to serve as one of your pastors for the past five years.
In recent months individuals from around the West have been asking me to consider offering myself as a candidate for election to the office of bishop. Coming out of this year’s General Conference, realizing the critical work that lies ahead of us as a denomination and the importance of decisive, collaborative leadership in the Jurisdiction, I began recently to reconsider my previous resistance to such a prospect. About a dozen people joined me in prayer, seeking a clear sense of calling for my ministry at this time.
The answer we are all getting brings me to say “Yes” to this new possibility. The members of the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference have confirmed this decision by endorsing me as their episcopal candidate.
Please know this is not a decision I made lightly, but only after much personal struggle, prayer and discernment. And there is no guarantee that I will be elected. The process will play out over the next month, culminating in the Western Jurisdiction Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona July 13-16, where the new bishop will be elected and consecrated. If I am elected, your Staff-Parish Relations Committee will work with Rev. Erin Martin (Columbia District Superintendent) and Bishop Grant Hagiya (Oregon-Idaho Conference) to secure your new Senior Pastor. Rev. Jeremy Smith, our Minister of Discipleship, Rev. Dick Storment, our Minister of Pastoral Care, and the rest of the dynamic 1st Church Staff will continue in ministry with you as well.
I ask you to pray for me in the coming weeks, that I might participate in the election process with honesty, authenticity and clarity. And that whatever the outcome, I will continue to recognize God’s presence and share God’s love.
Grace and Peace,