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ALPB => Your Turn => Topic started by: Steven Tibbetts on January 20, 2019, 10:17:03 PM

Title: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on January 20, 2019, 10:17:03 PM
Note: The subject title is inspired by a description I used on this Forum years ago.

Following Holy Communion this morning, a Special Meeting of the Congregation of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria, Illinois, adopted a resolution to formally dissolve the congregation once its assets have been properly disposed of.  This is the conclusion of several discussions and actions over the last year.  Earlier in November the Congregation had voted that Zion's final worship services would be January 27, 2019.

Initially established as a mission parochial and Sunday School for German-speaking residents of Peoria's South Side in 1882, the congregation organized in 1894 and joined the Iowa Synod.  I have served as Zion's 13th pastor since 1992.

Pax et bonum, Steven+
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: JoshuaEM on January 20, 2019, 10:21:55 PM
Bless you for your faithful ministry! Lots of prayers for the future coming from Los Angeles.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: D. Engebretson on January 20, 2019, 10:56:15 PM
I can only imagine the bittersweet feelings at this moment.  You have invested well over 20 years in this parish, grown to love and care for its sheep, and now must watch it come to an end.  But that feeling must be even more profound for those who still remember family milestones such as baptisms and weddings within its sacred walls.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Tom McMichael on January 20, 2019, 11:00:35 PM
Steven,

I second Josh’s post! You and the people of Zion are in my prayers. May the Lord bless and keep you all as you begin new chapters of life and ministry.

Tom
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Michael Slusser on January 21, 2019, 12:02:11 AM
Thank you for letting us know. You have been a zealous and caring pastor, if I may judge by the way you have shown those characteristics on this Forum. I'm happy to have met you (in Minneapolis in 2009 at the Bergs' house).

I was a parishioner in a RC parish that was "suppressed" by the bishop (don't you love the ungracious terminology, as compared with Steven's description of what has happened at Zion?  :( ). One action that I realized then was incumbent on the pastor and staff was to see each parishioner/family particularly and talk about what thenceforward would be their church home.

Peace,
Michael
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on January 21, 2019, 12:18:42 AM
Steven, you are named for the servant of God and Protomartyr Steven the Deacon, and truly you have lived into fullness of that name.

You have loved and served the people of Zion; having once loved and served a people called by that same name for a similar span of years the grief and pain becomes quite personal to me.

Almost too late I learned to appreciate--through Orthodox hymnody--that "Zion" is synonymous with Theotokos; and that the people of Zion are tasked by God to be the God-bearers to their community.

Now as they face diaspora, the challenge--and the opportunity--to live into their name will be greater than ever before.

May sheep and shepherd alike go forth with courage in the peace of the Good Shepherd!
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: John_Hannah on January 21, 2019, 10:31:14 AM
Note: The subject title is inspired by a description I used on this Forum years ago.

Following Holy Communion this morning, a Special Meeting of the Congregation of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church of Peoria, Illinois, adopted a resolution to formally dissolve the congregation once its assets have been properly disposed of.  This is the conclusion of several discussions and actions over the last year.  Earlier in November the Congregation had voted that Zion's final worship services would be January 27, 2019.

Initially established as a mission parochial and Sunday School for German-speaking residents of Peoria's South Side in 1882, the congregation organized in 1894 and joined the Iowa Synod.  I have served as Zion's 13th pastor since 1992.

Pax et bonum, Steven+

STEVEN

Blessings to you and Zion and thanks for your faithful ministry in Peoria. You give the Lutheran ministry a good name; it's an honor to be your pastoral colleague. I pray that you will find your next ministry as fulfilling.

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: peter_speckhard on January 21, 2019, 10:40:41 AM
Built on a rock...

Thank you for your service. The disappointment is tough to take, but all too common a situation these days. Hope endures with the Promise, though.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Harvey_Mozolak on January 21, 2019, 11:04:21 AM
you were and are always pastor to a larger church, perhaps you know that even more at the moment ... enjoy any freedom from heavy responsibilities you might get before you answer the call to be faithful in another portion of the Shepherd's pasture...  may Christ bless all your life and living...
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Dan Fienen on January 21, 2019, 11:26:14 AM
It is a sad day when church doors close.  Thank God for the years of service to the Christians who have been a part of Zion and to the community in which you lived.  This will also end a chapter in your ministry.  Are you going to be OK, Pr. Tibbets?  Has any provision been made for your well being as you transition to what God has next in mind for you?
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: pastorg1@aol.com on January 21, 2019, 11:40:08 AM
God bless you and your flock.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Charles Austin on January 21, 2019, 12:22:36 PM
It is sad when churches close; and I have watched several do so over the years. However, congregations - like the people in them - have "lives," that is, they are born, they mature, they age and they die. We don't always know how long this will take, but it is the life cycle of congregations.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: David Garner on January 21, 2019, 12:55:34 PM
I'm sorry to hear this Pastor Tibbetts.  Thank you for your faithful service.  You and your parish will be in our prayers.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Keith Falk on January 21, 2019, 12:56:55 PM
It is sad when churches close; and I have watched several do so over the years. However, congregations - like the people in them - have "lives," that is, they are born, they mature, they age and they die. We don't always know how long this will take, but it is the life cycle of congregations.


At funerals, do you tell the caregiver of the deceased similar words?  Can you not simply let grief be expressed, to mourn with those who are mourning?
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Eileen Smith on January 21, 2019, 12:59:19 PM
The people at Zion have been blessed to have such a faithful pastor as we are blessed by your faithful presence on this Forum.  God be with you, Pastor Tibbetts in these difficult days. 
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Charles Austin on January 21, 2019, 02:40:41 PM
Pastor Falk, at the “funeral” for congregations, we speak of the faithful service of the congregation and its people over many years. We refer to baptisms, confirmations, weddings, and funerals and other examples of gospel-centered Worship and service, we mention those who were sent out into the wider work of the church and mission support given to special projects.
We give thanks for all that which happened in this particular “place”  and say that while this particular “place“ may no longer be the focus of that gospel ministry, that which began here continues.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: NCLutheran2 on January 21, 2019, 03:35:49 PM
Pastor Tibbetts,

Please accept my condolences on behalf of your congregation. Making the decision to close, even when the "right" thing to do, always feels wrong. Our church is weaker without you.

I have always been impressed by your perspectives and insights on this forum. I hope that you will find a place to use your considerable gifts and talents to continue your ministry.

Rob
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: James_Gale on January 21, 2019, 03:47:37 PM
Pr. Tibbetts —


You and your flock are in my prayers.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Coach-Rev on January 21, 2019, 05:10:52 PM
As I've said privately, and now will say here:  You are a faithful colleague in ministry, and I'm honored to be able to call you a colleague and friend.  May God grant you new ministries that may even yet be unknown to you, and on a personal note:  we're a little slim on members right now out here in Central Plains STS, so hopefully it might be within our bounds!
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Pastor Ken Kimball on January 21, 2019, 11:28:46 PM
You have served faithfully and well Steven.  I grieve with you and the folks of Zion over their closing.  I remember visiting you there at the church--and praying Matins or Compline together.  I remember the beautiful sanctuary and the fellowship hall--and I give thanks to God for the heritage and legacy of the faithful preaching of the Word and celebration of the Sacraments and witness to Christ, a legacy faithfully honored by the ministry of Zion's last pastor, yourself.  I give thanks as well, that your sojourn in Peoria covered the time I was traveling from Iowa to Columbus, OH for Lutheran CORE and the fellowship we enjoyed over meals downtown--a welcome break from my travels.  Blessings to you dear brother and esteemed colleague wherever God calls you next to serve His Church.
Ken
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Dave Benke on January 22, 2019, 09:27:50 AM
As you prepare for the final Eucharist to be celebrated at Zion, Steven, I know that you and the faithful will sing together the wonderful words of comfort and hope which will be realized at the altar together in Holy Communion  -  Grace our table with Your presence, and give us a foretaste of the feast to come.

In this ongoing era of church closings, my concern as Bishop was always to ensure that each and all of those whose house of worship was no more would be guided and directed to safe pasture in neighboring fellowships.  I pray that's happening for the members of Zion, and for you as well.

Dave Benke
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: peterm on January 23, 2019, 11:13:04 AM
Blessings to you Steven.  I will pray for you and the congregation.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: gan ainm on January 23, 2019, 03:30:39 PM
Pr. Tibbetts, may God grant you and your congregation peace and comfort as you prepare for the next phase of your journeys. 

Blessings.

Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: readselerttoo on January 23, 2019, 03:42:47 PM
Pr. Tibbetts, my prayers for you and your congregation that Christ continue to shepherd you and all at Zion, Peoria.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: GalRevRedux on January 23, 2019, 04:49:33 PM
Even as I join those who grieve the demise of the church as it currently exists, I prayerfully anticipate hearing of your new call and renewed purpose in ministry.  Blessings to all impacted. 

Donna
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Mbecker on January 23, 2019, 09:06:57 PM
Pr. Tibbetts,
You and your congregation are in my prayers. God's peace be with you.

Matt Becker
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on January 24, 2019, 01:07:38 AM
I thank you all for your prayers and kind words, both on my behalf and that of the people of Zion.  Sunday will be a very emotionally-charged day, but we will not be alone in our sadness and thanksgiving.

As for my future, a congregation within the Synod will be meeting 2 weeks from this Sunday to vote on calling me as their next Pastor.  As is typical in the ELCA, I have met with both the Call Committee and Congregation Council, and (as is typical in our Synod) I will be meeting more informally with the congregation before that.  I pray that these will enable us to clearly discern the Lord's will for both that congregation, me, and our ministries.

Pax et bonum, Steven+
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: MaddogLutheran on January 24, 2019, 09:53:43 AM
Wondrous news, thanks for sharing.  The Lord will provide.  Not just for you, but I pray also for the people of Zion.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Mike in Pennsylvania on January 24, 2019, 10:06:28 AM
Pr. Stephen, I am glad to hear that your synod is willing to work with you in finding a new place for ministry.  May God's blessings be upon this journey!
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: RandyBosch on January 24, 2019, 10:59:58 AM
Praying that the Holy Spirit continues to hold up the believers from Zion and strengthen them as they are directed to new congregations.  And, praying that the Holy Spirit continue to guide you and the call process that God's servants and sheep be protected and led forward with sound teaching in a new setting.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Mike Bennett on January 24, 2019, 06:36:17 PM
Steven, as the actual day approaches I have no profound words to offer.  I trust that you know, as your congregation does, what a faithful shepherd Zion has had from the very start of your ministry.  As for the possible call . . . . . hmm . . . . . I wonder whether it is the possibility that I am aware of . . . . . it will be interesting to learn as things unfold.   
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: John_Hannah on January 30, 2019, 12:52:57 PM
STEVEN

How did it go Sunday?

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on January 31, 2019, 04:55:03 PM
STEVEN

How did it go Sunday?

Peace, JOHN

Zion was packed Sunday afternoon.  Lots of tears, of course.  But all the messages were of the positive ministry that has marked Zion for over 124 years as a congregation, and a dozen years before that as a school and preaching point, often in challenging times.  A ministry that is ending here, but the ripples continue. 

We counted 219 in attendance (average in 2018 was 24), and it was a very cold, winters day (it had snowed Friday night) with a blizzard forecast for the late afternoon in the surrounding areas.  When the procession out, with the sacramental vessels and chancel furnishings, arrived downstairs, I told the Bishop, 10 other clergy in the procession (10 more were in the congregation) -- one of whom was a until-recently-unknown son of the congregation who came out from South Carolina -- and the worship assistants, "I never, ever want to do anything like this again.  But this was glorious!"

And it was. 

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: John_Hannah on January 31, 2019, 05:18:43 PM
Thanks! Blessings to you for what comes next. I pray that will be resloved soon. 😀

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Eileen Smith on January 31, 2019, 06:38:36 PM
STEVEN

How did it go Sunday?

Peace, JOHN

Zion was packed Sunday afternoon.  Lots of tears, of course.  But all the messages were of the positive ministry that has marked Zion for over 124 years as a congregation, and a dozen years before that as a school and preaching point, often in challenging times.  A ministry that is ending here, but the ripples continue. 

We counted 219 in attendance (average in 2018 was 24), and it was a very cold, winters day (it had snowed Friday night) with a blizzard forecast for the late afternoon in the surrounding areas.  When the procession out, with the sacramental vessels and chancel furnishings, arrived downstairs, I told the Bishop, 10 other clergy in the procession (10 more were in the congregation) -- one of whom was a until-recently-unknown son of the congregation who came out from South Carolina -- and the worship assistants, "I never, ever want to do anything like this again.  But this was glorious!"

And it was. 

Pax, Steven+

What a gift of God that this is the memory that you carry with you as you continue in ministry.  God's blessing on all you do.

Eileen
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: peterm on January 31, 2019, 07:40:29 PM
Steven,
I give thanks for your ministry and conttinue to pray for what God has in store for you.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: peter_speckhard on February 01, 2019, 01:55:18 PM
STEVEN

How did it go Sunday?

Peace, JOHN

Zion was packed Sunday afternoon.  Lots of tears, of course.  But all the messages were of the positive ministry that has marked Zion for over 124 years as a congregation, and a dozen years before that as a school and preaching point, often in challenging times.  A ministry that is ending here, but the ripples continue. 

We counted 219 in attendance (average in 2018 was 24), and it was a very cold, winters day (it had snowed Friday night) with a blizzard forecast for the late afternoon in the surrounding areas.  When the procession out, with the sacramental vessels and chancel furnishings, arrived downstairs, I told the Bishop, 10 other clergy in the procession (10 more were in the congregation) -- one of whom was a until-recently-unknown son of the congregation who came out from South Carolina -- and the worship assistants, "I never, ever want to do anything like this again.  But this was glorious!"

And it was. 

Pax, Steven+
God has a way with gifts like that.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating..." -- Call
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 13, 2019, 03:26:03 PM
This last Sunday Resurrection Lutheran Church, Godfrey, Illinois, by a unanimous vote called this unworthy servant to be her next pastor.  I am awaiting the official Letter of Call, but my hope is to begin serving this congregation soon. 

Resurrection first organized as an AELC congregation in 1976 in the Alton-Godfrey area, with the existing church building dedicated in 1992.  Godfrey is village of some 18,000 residents in the northern reaches of Metropolitan St. Louis, its south-western border being the Mississippi River about midway between where the Illinois and Missouri Rivers empty into it.

Pax, Steven+         
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: MaddogLutheran on February 13, 2019, 03:43:34 PM
May God bless you in your new call, Pr. Tibbetts.

Through the magic of the interwebz, I just viewed the altar and font which have been entrusted to you.  Nice digs, perhaps a bit more modern than your last, if I recall correctly.   ;)

Sterling
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: John_Hannah on February 13, 2019, 03:58:50 PM
STEVEN

Thanks be to God.  :)

Peace, JOHN
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating..." -- Call
Post by: mj4 on February 13, 2019, 04:02:30 PM
... in the northern reaches of Metropolitan St. Louis, ...

Pax, Steven+         

What are the implications for your baseball loyalties?

I wish you and Resurrection the best!
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on February 13, 2019, 09:31:42 PM
Nice digs, perhaps a bit more modern than your last, if I recall correctly.   ;)


Nothing that a team of carpenters couldn't turn into a decent Iconostasis in four days.  ;)

All kidding aside:  Glory to God for all things!
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Charles Austin on February 13, 2019, 10:46:20 PM
Congratulations, Steven! Glad to know you are heading towards another call, where I have no doubt you will do good work.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 13, 2019, 11:06:22 PM
Videos of Zion's final service have now been posted on the congregation's YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNtoYkmJgr2AZIW0WHbWecQ).  I also have them in a YouTube playlist of my own (https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLv-DuiwnSxuxGo9CieNcUhgv90U4etXDX).

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: J.L. Precup on February 13, 2019, 11:34:55 PM
So very well done, Steven!  Thank you for letting us view this special time of worship for you and your people. 

To your proclamation of, Peace, I respond:  and with your spirit.  Amen.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating..." -- Call
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on February 13, 2019, 11:59:52 PM
... in the northern reaches of Metropolitan St. Louis, ...

Pax, Steven+         

What are the implications for your baseball loyalties?


"Cubs or Cardinals?" I was asked at the congregation Meet 'n' Greet.  So I began by confessing that my oldest fitted baseball cap, which I bought with my own money when I was in junior high, is of the Chicago Cubs.  Of course, they responded with boos. 

I then acknowledged that upon arriving in Peoria (a town of divided loyalties, even within families), I tried to become a Cardinals fan because I really liked their manager, Joe Torre, who had been a superb TV commentator for the Angels before he returned to the dugout in St. Louis.  Then half-way through the season, the Cards fired Torre -- so between the two, it's the Cubs.

But, I concluded, my first team is the Los Angeles Angels.  To which someone immediately responded, "Did you know this season the Angels will be in St. Louis for the first time since they signed Albert Pujols?"   So it appears I'll be wearing one of my Angels caps to Busch Stadium this summer, to cheer Albert -- as I had done when he played for the (class A) Peoria Chiefs!

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Eileen Smith on February 14, 2019, 07:29:19 AM
I've wondered how the Call process you were in was progressing and so good to learn that you will now shepherd this congregation.  God's blessing on your ministry.  As well, hopes for a conversion to becoming a Cardinal fan. 
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: J. Thomas Shelley on February 14, 2019, 03:41:45 PM
Axios!
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating..." -- Call
Post by: mj4 on June 23, 2019, 05:12:20 PM
... in the northern reaches of Metropolitan St. Louis, ...

Pax, Steven+         

What are the implications for your baseball loyalties?


"Cubs or Cardinals?" I was asked at the congregation Meet 'n' Greet.  So I began by confessing that my oldest fitted baseball cap, which I bought with my own money when I was in junior high, is of the Chicago Cubs.  Of course, they responded with boos. 

I then acknowledged that upon arriving in Peoria (a town of divided loyalties, even within families), I tried to become a Cardinals fan because I really liked their manager, Joe Torre, who had been a superb TV commentator for the Angels before he returned to the dugout in St. Louis.  Then half-way through the season, the Cards fired Torre -- so between the two, it's the Cubs.

But, I concluded, my first team is the Los Angeles Angels.  To which someone immediately responded, "Did you know this season the Angels will be in St. Louis for the first time since they signed Albert Pujols?"   So it appears I'll be wearing one of my Angels caps to Busch Stadium this summer, to cheer Albert -- as I had done when he played for the (class A) Peoria Chiefs!

Pax, Steven+

Pujols back in St. Louis...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDJFraAxluA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDJFraAxluA)
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating..." -- Call
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on June 23, 2019, 10:12:18 PM

But, I concluded, my first team is the Los Angeles Angels.  To which someone immediately responded, "Did you know this season the Angels will be in St. Louis for the first time since they signed Albert Pujols?"   So it appears I'll be wearing one of my Angels caps to Busch Stadium this summer, to cheer Albert -- as I had done when he played for the (class A) Peoria Chiefs!


Pujols back in St. Louis...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDJFraAxluA (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDJFraAxluA)

That was Friday night.  I was at the ballpark for yesterday (Saturday) afternoon's game, which was much the same.  Attendance: 46,711 in a park with 45,494 seats.  Standing ovation each time he was announced, plus for his homer in the 7th (which brought the score to 4-2 Cards) and after grounding out in the 9th. 

It's been much the same today at Busch...

It's been a big weekend for Cardinal fans.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: peter_speckhard on June 24, 2019, 09:00:18 PM
Say hi to my nephew Dan, who is the LCMS pastor in Godfrey.
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on June 24, 2019, 09:03:58 PM
Say hi to my nephew Dan, who is the LCMS pastor in Godfrey.

I shall when I see him next.  He very graciously dropped in shortly after my arrival to introduce himself to me.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Steven Tibbetts on December 04, 2019, 11:44:52 AM
I learned yesterday that Zion's property is being transferred to the new Peace Community Church of Peoria.  The organizers of the new church are an interracial group of folk from the greater Peoria area who have a heart for mission on the South Side of Peoria, which is among the more distressed neighborhoods not only in Central Illinois, but across the state. 

They have received mission training from Saddleback Church in Southern California, where Rick Warren is pastor.  Of particular interest for those rooted at Zion and the South Side of Peoria, they very much love the historic building and grounds.  They will have some some work to do, both with the property and reaching out to the people of the neighborhood, as they hope to have their first public worship Easter Day 2020.

Pax, Steven+
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: peterm on December 04, 2019, 12:09:46 PM
This is fantastic news!  Thank you for sharing
Title: Re: No Longer "Skating Close to the Edge"
Post by: Padre Emeritus on December 11, 2019, 07:59:59 PM
My dear STS brother Steven:

Twice in my 30 year ministry we came close to having to make the decision your saints have had to make.  As my wise ordaining Bishop told me when he Installed me “the success or failure of this congregation is not a sign of your faithfulness or effectiveness as a Pastor.  The future of the Church is the Holy Spirit’s work alone, and there is a time to be born and a time to die”.  Words that were not comforting to me at the time, I pray are comforting to you.

May God continue to use you in His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church as a Pastor of unique talent and gifts of caring.  He is with you always!