Pastor Ben will Be Leaving And A New Pastor Will Be Arriving
Last night, I announced to the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee (PPR is our leaders who oversee the pastoral leadership needs of our church) that I will be leaving this appointment at the end of June. At this point, I am in the process of asking the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Missouri Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for a personal leave of absence. This means that July 1st I will begin a break from pastoral ministry.
I did not arrive at this decision lightly. It has been months of prayer and conversation with my wife, Shelley, and those closest to me. I believe this is the best step forward for me and my family. I plan to use this time away to continue to anchor myself and my family in the foundation of Jesus Christ. The space created by time away will give me much needed perspective and opportunity to grow and develop in new ways.
You may be wondering where I will go and what I will do. I honestly don’t know for certain at this time. I will seek employment in order to provide for my family and change locations appropriately. I am confident that the Lord will provide. I am also confident I have skills and abilities that will be a valuable asset to any company or organization that would hire me. We walk by faith, not by sight.
Another question you may have is what’s next for the church. As a United Methodist Church, we have a process for pastoral leadership changes that has already begun. The Bishop, our District Superintendent, and the rest of the Bishop’s Cabinet are diligently working to match another pastor to be your leader. In the meantime, I am still your pastor until the end of June. I will do everything in my power to gracefully pass the baton and facilitate a smooth transition for the next pastor, whoever that may be. Any questions you have about this process will probably be answered as time passes. The PPR Committee will keep you informed.
Finally, there are two things I need you to know now. One, I am going to use up my remaining vacation and time off for the month of June. This means my last Sunday will be May 27th. Two, and most importantly, I love you. These past six years have been a remarkable season in my life. Journeying with you all through ministry here in St. Joseph has been a blessing. You are wonderful churches, and St. Joe is a great community. I’m excited to see what God has in store these last 15 weeks of us together.
Rev. Ben Mulford