28 Sep Pastor’s Paragraph for September 29, 2019
Pastor's Paragraph for September 29, 2019
SEPTEMBER 29, 2019
As we shared in August, tomorrow, September 30th, is my last day in the office before renewal leave begins! I will be returning to work on October 30th, serving at the fall General Commission on Religion & Race board meeting from October 30th through November 2nd. I am not planning to respond to email, phone, text, or Facebook messages while away, which, as you know, will be challenging for me, but please know that I continue to hold you in my heart. And, I will be joyfully returning to the pulpit in New Life on November 3rd.
I want to thank you, beloved church, for the notes of encouragement, hugs, offers of meals, and ongoing love and support you have shown, as I have prepared to step aside for some discernment time.
Several folks have asked if I am leaving pastoral ministry, and I can assure you that I have no intention to do so. I believe deeply that I have been called to help cultivate communities that act like and serve Jesus, and I have found, thus far, that the local church is most often where Jesus appears. And—while I am confident of my call, I am also confident that every life has patterns that periodically must be reexamined so that the ways that we live—as pastors or otherwise—are as life-giving and fruitful as possible. I am in one such season of reexamining the way that I pastor and the way that I live, seeking to align my vocation and life as closely as possible to God’s dream.
As pastors, we talk a lot. So, this is a season where I have felt strongly the call to stop speaking and listen for a word from the Lord. I have, throughout my pastoral life, as you’ve heard me preach, often set shorter lengths of time aside for silent retreat. I believe not only because I have faith—but because I have experienced it—that the scripture is true when it says that knowledge of God will come when we are still. I will not be still for the entirety of leave—I will continue to participate in my and my family’s unfolding life, but as I step into a season of intentional discernment, I invite you to join spiritually in that season of discernment for your lives, as well. Perhaps that might mean adopting a new spiritual discipline for the month of October or spending time in silence. Know that I will truly be praying for you, as you continue on the journey and that I am deeply grateful for the ministry team that will serve with faithfulness and passion alongside of you.
Grace and peace to you—and thank you for the gift of your prayer!
Rev. Anna Layman Knox
Lead Associate Pastor