Change is a part of life. It creates opportunities and sometimes some anxiety along with it. For several months, I’ve been struggling more with my sight issues. The word from the surgeon following cataract surgery was not encouraging. Through some tests he ran, he could look behind the eyes and, in simple terms, it’s not good. Deb and I have been in prayer and conversation for some time prior to, but especially since, that doctor visit. The general condition of my eyes (diabetic related) coupled with the amount of time in front of a computer and the lights on Sunday mornings have led to a decision to request of the Bishop and the Conference Board of Ministry my retirement effective 12/31/19. I’ve been in conversation with God and Deb, with the Managing Directors (Lori Short, Ray Slaubaugh, and Isaac Gaff), the SPRC, and our District Superintendent, Rev. Jim Barnett. I am aware from a Cabinet, Bishop, Superintendent perspective as well as a husband, father, and pastor the challenges of mid year appointment decisions. The one factor that overcomes all challenges is Holy God. I know God will provide for the pastoral leadership at Calvary.
The staff has been so helpful and done so much beyond what is required of them in recent months. I am deeply grateful. God has provided strength on some difficult days and given me a peace about this decision.
There are likely some questions you may have so let me try to answer a few:
What now for Calvary? The District Superintendent is scheduled to meet with your Staff Parish Relations committee in the next week or so. When the cabinet reconvenes, they will begin a process of discernment about who might be a missional fit for pastoral leadership here. After a season of prayer and discernment, they will make a decision, share that with the pastor identified, and then that person will meet with the superintendent and the SPRC. It could be a while before you hear anything, so don’t panic. The cabinet is usually off a bit in the summer for vacation as well.
What can you do? The persistent fervent prayers availeth much. In other words, trust God, pray often, and don’t let the enemy infiltrate your thoughts or your mouth. God has been, is, and will continue to be faithful.
Am I going to continue to preach and lead the church until 12/31? Absolutely. There were already some plans in place before all of this happened. For instance:
Michael Pitzer has been preaching every six weeks. That will continue.
In August with the series on the Holy Spirit, I will be helping to lead worship but Isaac Gaff, our Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts is bringing a message one Sunday on the fruits of the Spirit as well as Lori Bultemeier. The SPRC has allowed me to take some unused vacation time from last year and I will be on vacation the first two weeks in September.
What will I do after I retire? Deb and I plan to continue to live in our house in Normal. Deb loves her job at Home Sweet Home Ministries and plans to continue working there. As for me, I think driving 18 wheelers across the country may be off of the table. Other than that, I hope to work a bit in my wood shop and, after a season of resting my eyes, maybe preach or fill a pulpit here and there. I’d like to just sit on the couch, watch tv, and eat bon bons but I don’t like bon bons so that may be out of the question too.
Undoubtedly, you will have other questions, please don't hesitate to ask me. he devil is the author of confusion and I don’t want to give him an inch, so ask me. You’ll not be bothering me at all. You can email me or if I’m busy or not in the office, share those with the staff. My word of encouragement and exhortation to all of you is to keep your eyes and heart focused on Jesus. Trust in Him and He will lead all of us.
Blessings and peace.
Pastor Randy Reese