By now you know about Barbara’s decision to resign her position as Associate Minister. She will be with us through the end of March, then she’ll step into April to begin the next chapter.
No one is surprised by her decision, driven by her hope that she’ll find a congregation with whom she’ll be as well-matched as a Senior Minister as she has been here, as Associate.
She started in the pew, so to speak. Then she climbed into the pulpit to talk about the moral and ethical implications of Earth Day, about 16 years ago. Something happened to her. It wasn’t like Paul’s conversion experience. She didn’t fall from her horse, blinded by the light. But something happened.
She was surprised, at first. But she followed her bliss, as Joseph Campbell put it.
Barbara has served us well, and in a variety of capacities. She served us as Congregation Coordinator, then as Director of Religious Education. She kept following her bliss, completing seminary and the other requirements for our ministry. She was awarded Preliminary Fellow- ship. She asked to be considered for the Associate Minister position when it was vacated by John Tolley.
You called her; we ordained her. She’s been a great partner in ministry to me, and to Ed and Jamie. Indeed, she has served us well.
Like the rest of us, she counts the candles on her cake. I’m guessing that on her last birthday she made a wish. As the old saying goes, ‘Wishes don’t wash dishes.’ She knows it’s time to take the next step, to continue her journey on the open road, to follow her bliss into a senior ministry.
She’s ready. It doesn’t matter if we’re ready for her to move on.
We’re ready in the sense that we’re confident that she’ll find and serve her own congregation, and she’ll do it well. She’ll do it well, in part, because of you. My friend Jack Mendelsohn said, ‘Good ministers and good congregations create one another.’ You’ve done your part, just as she did hers.
When Barbara began her work I told her that her task was to carve out her own congregation, to develop personal relationships, to work with groups, week to week, to be present in a way that invites people to come in to talk about their own lives.
Barbara has done that. The small-group ministry program, which has taken shape nicely under her leadership, is a good example. She has helped us to grow, and she has been willing to grow. Now she’s ready to move on, with our blessing, and our appreciation. I hope you’ll find ways to express your personal appreciation to her in the weeks ahead