June 16, 2019
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A wise man once observed, “The future holds, but the present gives. Being where you are is the best way to get where you are going.” Over the past eleven years we have been a faithful community of Christ, centered in the Word and Sacraments. We have worked together and shared our gifts to respond to God’s call in each new day and time. How we have grown as pastors, staff and congregation! We have had a good partnership because we have lived and loved “where we are,” and that always leads us into God’s surprising future.
With a clear mind, the strength of my convictions and a bittersweet heart, I write to tell you I have decided, after 36 years of ordained ministry, to retire. Because we are confident of God’s promises, Debra and I are excited about this new chapter in our lives. We ask for your prayers in the weeks and months ahead. This decision was not made easily as Community has been a wonderful congregation in which to serve. You have given us your love, friendship and privilege of sharing the Gospel. I want to thank you for the honor of sharing ministry with you. Serving here has made me a better pastor. Our time together has tested my faith on occasion, but more often deepened my convictions, fed my soul and filled me with gratitude. My departure will not diminish the joy and thanksgiving as I thank you and God for all we have shared.
This congregation has much for which to be proud and thankful. The warmth of this fellowship, the breadth of our ministries, outreach and creative engagement with this community and mission around the world is inspiring. A pastor leaves, but a vibrant ministry continues. My encouragement for you is in two areas. First, let this transition be a time of prayer for CLC, its leadership and staff. Pray for unity, continued growth and health. Second, I want to encourage your faithful attendance in worship, in time, talent and monetary giving. Find a ministry that gives you joy, continue building Community and pursuing your Vision for Ministry and Mission. This can be an exciting time as God’s Spirit brings a new future.
In accordance with my call and Synod guidelines, I hereby tender my resignation, effective November 1st. Our last Sunday at Community Lutheran will be September 29th with the remaining days taken as vacation. “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy for all of you, because of your sharing in the Gospel from the first day until now. I am confident that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:3-5) May the Peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Rev. Dr. Joseph M. Vought