A Message from Pastor Marianne

 

Dear Members and Friends of St. Paul’s,

 

Ten years ago, I had the privilege of taking a sabbatical, funded largely by a grant from the Lilly Foundation for Clergy Renewal.  Lyle and I spent most of 4 months traveling in Europe, doing some research, reading, taking time for retreat and renewal. I had made most of our arrangements for the trip over the Internet.  After months of planning, when Lyle and I finally set out, we were excited but we also had some anxiety.  Like most travelers, we had the usual questions  . . . Would our various reservations be honored?  How would we handle the trains?  Would the taxi drivers understand us?  Would we make our connections?  So, each time we left one location and set out for the next, we always began the day by looking at each other and saying . . . now we’re off to our next adventure! Somehow, thinking of the next challenge as an adventure made it seem more doable!  It was a simple strategy – but it worked.

 

Last Sunday, May 1 st , at both St. Paul’s and Covenant, I announced that I have decided to begin the process of moving to my ‘next adventure.’  I plan to retire at the end of June in 2017. At that time, I will have served as pastor at St. Paul’s for 23 years.    I first began this process last September when I talked with the Bishop and the Cabinet about my plans.  Several months later, when Lyle was diagnosed with cancer, the wisdom of moving toward retirement became even clearer.  Lyle and I both know that this is a good next step for us and I hope, though it will bring change to St. Paul’s, you too might see it as a ‘next adventure’ in the life of this wonderful church community.

 

Throughout the 14 months to come, I plan to work closely with Tyler, the staff, and leadership of St. Paul’s to provide for a good and healthy transition.  We are still working out the details of that process but I will do all I can to ease the way.  In the end, this is a rather ‘non-traditional’ process of pastoral change because even before my public announcement, the Cabinet had already begun working with our Staff Parish Relations Committee. In dialogue with the SPR and with Tyler, they plan that, upon my retirement, Tyler will continue as a pastor at St. Paul’s.   In the year to come, we will be looking at how we will continue our partnership with Covenant through HUMM (Helena United Methodist Ministries).  There is still much to explore but the process has begun.  As questions or concerns arise or, when you have words of encouragement, please feel free to contact our SPR chair Dave Nielsen, our Lay Leaders Marti Johnson and Matthew Dale, Tyler or me.   A healthy and good transition will be built on healthy communication and on our trust in God’s power working through us and through one another.

 

By embarking on this journey as a ‘transition process’ rather than a transition announcement, I hope we can all move into our ‘next adventure’ with faith and confidence!

 

Gratefully,

Marianne


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