January 8, 2019
Dear Friend in Christ,
This is one of the most difficult letters I have ever written about one of the hardest decisions in my life. I do need to inform you that I will be retiring from pastoral ministry this coming June, with my tenure as your pastor coming to an end. As you may imagine, there are many factors which have led me to this decision. What I feel in my gut is simply that this is the right time. I assure you that I came to this choice from a deep life of prayer and careful spiritual discernment, grateful I was able to make it without any restraint or pressure from anyone.
I do want you to know that one of my life’s greatest privileges is serving as your Lead Pastor for 19 years! It has been an honor to follow Schweitzer’s legacy of excellent pastoral leadership with the likes of Wes Arington, Bill O’Quinn, and Clayton Smith. Wes opened the door for my first pastoral appointment back in ’75; Bill was a primary mentor of mine as I served under his leadership as an Associate Pastor in the 1980’s; and Clayton’s friendship has been a true blessing to me for decades. Yet, it is the Schweitzer congregation, still present and those now part of the Church Eternal, which has been my greatest inspiration! Thank you for exemplifying Christ and helping to grow Schweitzer as a dynamic witness for Christ in this community. You are indeed a church that loves!
I realize that this notice may raise other questions in your mind: Who will be our next Lead Pastor? When will we know? What is involved in the selection process? While my successor has not yet been named, I offer you assurance that great care is being given in seeking a new excellent leader for Schweitzer. I am grateful to Bishop Bob Farr for his personal attentiveness and for our church board in their discernment of the qualities and characteristics desired in a Lead Pastor.
I am also pleased to announce that Schweitzer has acquired the services of Jim Ozier, Ozier Coaching, LLC to assist the church board, me, and my successor during this transitional year. Jim will facilitate an informational gathering Saturday morning, February 2 (Ground Hog Day!) which is open to all Schweitzer members who wish to attend. Will Cologna, Schweitzer’s board chair, will join me to say more about this opportunity and the transition process in our morning worship services this Sunday, January 13. Your presence in worship this Sunday is very much appreciated.
I ask for you to remain prayerful daily for Schweitzer, Bishop Farr, our church board and staff as we go forward through the process of passing the baton to your next Lead Pastor in the months ahead. Susan and I also covet your prayers. I give thanks for all of you and look forward to seeing you this Sunday!
Grace and Peace,
Pastor Bob Casady