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January 15, 2022

Beloved Congregation of Holy Cross, 

The third chapter of Ecclesiastes reminds us of an unchanging truth: "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." For the past sixteen years, I have felt called by God to serve as the Sr. Pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church. Not only have I felt called by God to serve here at Holy Cross, I have also greatly enjoyed the privilege of serving as a pastor to this wonderful community of faith.

Life, however, is never static. Change is inevitable. God continually calls us to new challenges, opportunities, and adventures. On January 2, I met with the people of Central Lutheran Church in Everett, Washington. The following Sunday, the congregation voted to extend me a Letter of Call to serve as their Term Interim Pastor. After much prayer and thoughtful consideration, I have decided to accept the call to serve at Central Lutheran. In consultation with the Holy Cross Congregation Council, my last Sunday worship here at Holy Cross will be February 6. I will then be on vacation until my official resignation on Saturday, February 19.

As you know, discerning God's call upon one's life is a difficult process. (I must admit that the thought of living a 30-minute drive instead of a four-hour flight away from our granddaughter, son, daughter-in-law, and most of Deb’s family has influenced my discernment process.) But after meeting with the people of Central Lutheran, learning where they are in the life of their congregation, and hearing how they hope to move forward, I feel that my gifts for ministry may serve them well. I do believe God is calling me into mission with them as this next chapter of their congregation’s life begins. 

St. Paul opens his letter to the church at Philippi with these words: "I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now." Amid all the varied emotions I am currently feeling, I am definitely experiencing the joy Paul felt as he wrote to his beloved congregation. It is impossible for me to express how grateful I am to God for the privilege and pleasure of serving as your pastor. I believe God has truly blessed our ministry together. My family and I have also been richly blessed through the loving, nurturing, and supportive faith community that is Holy Cross. The relationships we have formed have enriched our lives and allowed us to love and be loved in the most profound ways.

Pastoral transitions are difficult. One advantage of moving across the country is that it is easier to maintain healthy boundaries which allow new pastoral relationships to form. These standard boundary policies apply to all pastors when they leave a congregation. Accordingly, I will not be available for any pastoral or administrative duties at Holy Cross, including officiating or assisting at baptisms, weddings, or funerals for Holy Cross members as of February 19, 2022. If a member of Holy Cross requests pastoral services from me after that date, I will refer them to the pastoral staff of Holy Cross.

One of the most important things in life is saying "good-bye" in healthy ways. I want to do this very intentionally in the coming days. As I said earlier, Holy Cross has truly been a blessing in my life and the life of my family. We will miss you dearly. Thank you for welcoming us into your church family. Thank you for sixteen years of serving, laughing, crying, and doing ministry together. Thank you for sending us off with your blessing.


Pastor Jim