November 23, 2021
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. Philippians 1:3-6
This week holds both Thanksgiving Day and the first Sunday of Advent–season of hope. Hasn’t our life together this year been especially full of reasons for gratitude and hope? So much has come to fulfillment, and the coming years hold so much potential.
I’m also feeling gratitude and hope, and genuine sadness, because the time has come to share with you, my beloved community, that I will retire from parish ministry on February 28. I could not possibly be more grateful for all of you and our ministry together over these 21 years. With God’s help, we have done “impossible” things. You have invited me into your lives, and we have shared good times and bad. You have been present at times of joy and sorrow in my own life.
I am excited to see what God will do through Our Redeemer’s in coming decades. You are a remarkable community of faith, with clear vision, compassionate ministries, strong leadership, deep trust in God’s grace, and a humble willingness to risk and change for the sake of our neighbors and the gospel. Although I can’t continue as part of this congregation, I will certainly continue to pray for and cheer you on!
You may wonder if my retirement was prompted by demands of the pandemic and the renovation. No, I have just discerned that after willingly giving my all to serving in this call, my ministry with Our Redeemer’s is complete and I’m being called to a new stage of life. I also believe Our Redeemer’s and God’s vision will be best-served by calling a new pastor with helpful new gifts, vision, and experience.
I have no doubt all will be in good hands during the transition. Our Council has already met with Bishop Shelley Bryan Wee and Assistant to the Bishop, Andy Yee about the call process and naming a transition pastor to lead with Pastor Gretchen.
In these coming months, my priority and joy will be to spend time with you, giving thanks for memories too abundant to be encompassed in a letter. I want you to know the tremendous privilege and blessing it has been in my life, my ministry, and my faith to serve as your pastor.
Gratefully, in Christ,
Pastor Kathy Hawks