Spring is a season of new life and transformation…and the changes are definitely taking place! As many of your know by now, it was announced that I will be appointed by our bishop to serve as the Pastor of Church of the Wayfarer in Carmel, CA. This new appointment will begin on the first of July. I know that this news has been a shock to many, and it is quite nat-ural to be sad or upset. It will indeed be hard to say goodbye to all of you when that time comes this summer. At this point, it looks like my last Sunday with you all will be June 18, and I look forward to sharing one final sermon with you on that day.
In the United Methodist Church, all ordained elders enter a covenant with one another. Part of that covenant is that we will go where the bishop and cabinet send us. From January through May, the cabinet has many meetings to make church appointments for the appointment year, which starts in July. The cabinet spends time in prayer and discernment as they seek to match churches in need of a pastor with someone who has gifts matching what a given church needs. The pastor of Church of the Wayfarer is retiring in July, and the cabinet has decided that I am the best fit for that church. This means that they will now be looking to find another minister to help lead alongside Ron here at SRVUMC. When a pastor is chosen, he or she will meet with the district superintendent and our SPRC committee to make the appointment official. On a Sunday shortly following that meeting, an announcement will be made in worship as to who your next associate pastor will be. This event (in theory) could all even take place before this article is published.
Some have asked if this decision to move me can somehow be reversed or reconsidered, but the decision is already final. As soon as I was notified of this appointment, our district superintendent scheduled a meeting for Stephanie, Caleb and me to meet with the SPRC committee in Carmel. The decision was made final at that point, and when Don Field announced the appointment at our church, Church of the Wayfarer’s SPRC chair did the same at her church.
Some of you have asked if I am alright with this move. Alt-hough it will be hard to say goodbye to such a wonderful con-gregation, as a United Methodist pastor, I believe that God works through the appointment process and that Carmel is exactly where God wants the Ham Family to go to next.
As I reflect on the last five and half years at SRVUMC, I can’t help but be thankful. No doubt the greatest gift I have had is to witness so many gifted youth grow into outstanding young adults. Also, what a blessing it has been to be able to spend the last few years serving alongside my wife, Stephanie. We are so thankful to have been part of a congregation that affirmed us both as ministers. There is no doubt that SRVUMC will have a special place in our hearts for our entire lives.
I would like to offer a prayer, and invite you to make this your prayer as well.
“Dear Lord, we thank you for your faithfulness, your grace, and your love from the beginning of time until now. We especially thank you for the time that we have had these past five and a half years to work in partnership together to make a difference in the name of Jesus Christ. We ask now that during this time of transition, you would help us to trust in you for a hopeful future. We thank you for this chapter in our lives together, and we anticipate with hope the next chapter that will unfold in July. Lord, finally we ask that you bless the next leader who will be coming to join in the ministry of the Gospel
here at San Ramon Valley UMC. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.