I haven’t written anything on my blog about my upcoming move to North Carolina. Pastoral transitions are difficult enough without trying to live out the whole thing online. As you might imagine, these have been months filled with a wide range of emotions—excitement and anticipation for the work at Christ Covenant (and the position at RTS), along with many tears in thinking about all we are leaving behind in saying goodbye to University Reformed Church and East Lansing. For the sake of both congregations (and my family and friends), I’ve thought it best to speak personally and privately wherever possible, rather than ponder the ins and outs of the transition on my blog.
Having said all that, it may be helpful—not least of all, for both congregations—if I lay out a calendar of hellos and goodbyes over the next three months.
I will be the senior pastor at University Reformed Church through June 18. Starting on June 19, I will be the senior pastor at Christ Covenant (provided I pass my Presbytery exams later this month).
This week marks my last full week of pastoral responsibilities at URC. Tonight will be the last time I chair a session meeting at URC. Sunday (May 14) will be the last time I preside over communion as the senior pastor of URC. I am preaching all three services (9:15, 11:00, 6:00) this Sunday. We will also be welcoming a number of young people into membership by way of profession of faith, and several of them will be baptized. It’s going to be a momentous day.
Next week I’m taking a study week in hopes (probably futile hope) of making a little progress on my dissertation. At the end of the week we will officially sell our East Lansing home. We are so grateful to the Lord that we can sell our home to Christian friends in the area. We didn’t even have to list our home (and get it cleaned up!).
For the next month I’ll mostly lay low at the church, either worshiping elsewhere on Sundays or quietly slipping in and out. I want to give space for others to preach and lead. On May 21, however, I’ll preside over a final congregational meeting at URC. The church will be voting on new officers and voting on names for the senior pastor search committee. We hope to introduce the proposed committee members this Sunday.
On May 22, my wife and I will fly to Charlotte to close on our new home. We found a beautiful home in Mint Hill, about 10 minutes from the church, and are grateful to be able to purchase the house from a delightful retired couple. On May 23, I’ll travel to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to take my transfer exam for the Central Carolina Presbytery. Trisha and I will return to Michigan on May 24. On May 27, I’m going to try my first half-marathon, the Bayshore up in Traverse City, Michigan. (I’ve needed something to do for stress relief in these past few months!)
After Memorial Day we will be full-on into cleaning, purging, and packing. When we aren’t getting ready to move all our earthly possessions (and boy, do we have too many of them!), we will be doing a few last-hurrah events with family and friends. The moving trucks will come sometime in the first week of June.
But we won’t move our family until the middle of the month. My wife will be taking our oldest daughter on a field trip to Mackinac Island on June 12 to 13, and I’ll be at General Assembly in Greensboro, North Carolina, from June 13 to 15. The kids have school until June 16. I’ll preach one more time at URC on the morning of June 18, and that evening will be a farewell service (I’m bringing lots of tissues). We will drive out to North Carolina early in the morning on June 19.
Once in Charlotte, it will be a few weeks before I jump in to all my new responsibilities. I have a quick trip to the UK at the end of June to speak at EMA and meet with my supervisor. Once I return, we’ll take another week or so to get settled and spend time together as a family. I will start work in earnest on July 10 and will begin preaching on July 16. That evening will be my installation service. I’m thrilled that my good friend Lig Duncan will be coming in to preach.
If you feel led, my family would benefit from your prayers, so would both churches. Mike Ross will retire and finish his 11-year ministry at Christ Covenant on June 11. He’s been an indispensable part of this transition process and a faithful pastor. Pray for him. Pray also for Trisha’s dad, Roy Bebee, who, at 69 years old, is terminally ill with stage 4 colon cancer. Much love to all.