March 5, 2017
Dear Session Members,
After a period of discernment and prayer, I have accepted an offer to serve as Minister for Campus Engagement with United University Church. As such, I am writing to give you notice of my resignation as Immanuel’s Interim Associate Pastor. My last Sunday will be March 26, and my last day in the office will be Friday, March 31. I humbly ask you to receive this request.
When I first visited Immanuel in 2008, I never imagined how God would call and shape me so deeply through this congregation, first as a seminary intern, then as the Director of Community Ministries, and finally as Interim Associate Pastor. My time in ministry in Christ with you all has, at turns, delighted me, surprised me, and challenged me, and has profoundly transformed my faith personally, and indelibly formed me as a pastoral leader. For the opportunity to serve Jesus in our world alongside you, thank you. As the name Immanuel suggests, and as we sing from time to time: “surely God is in this place; holy ground.”
I suspect this news will come as a surprise to you, and for that I sincerely apologize. It was not an easy decision for me. I feel really sad to say goodbye. I will work with you in any way possible to ensure that my departure is as smooth as possible for Immanuel’s ministries.
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today so that I could share this in person. Immanuel will always be in my prayers, and I ask you to hold me and my family in yours.
Yours in Christ,
March 5, 2017
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Session members met today to receive and accept Matthias’ letter of resignation. Amid heavy hearts and a few tears, we realized that God has called Matthias to a new ministry position, and in that, we also rejoice. The life that the Immanuel family has shared with Matthias will remain a beloved part of all of us. We are thankful to God for all we have learned from him, and for allowing us to be the place where an eager, young seminary intern grew into strong pastoral leader.
We realize that while we are happy for Matthias, this news might be difficult to accept. Many might have questions about why the congregation didn’t take part in this decision, or wonder what the next steps are for Immanuel. The Session has planned several events to help answer the questions you might have.
Matthias’ position as Interim Associate Pastor was never a permanent position. According to the PCUSA’s rules, interim positions are hired by a church’s Session and through the Presbytery. Once the year contract is up, it can be renewed as needed. Under the terms of Matthias’ contract, it could be ended with a 30 days’ notice.
Matthias’ last Sunday with us will be March 26th. On that day, we will have a special moment during the service to pray for Matthias. After the service, we will have a time for celebration of Matthias and his time with us.
In the meantime, the Session will be looking at the next steps we need to take as a church. This Sunday, March 12th, after our convivio, we will hold a listening session in the parlor. This will be a time to for you to voice your questions and concerns. We will also be listening to your hopes and visions for Immanuel’s future. We hope you will be able to join us for this meeting.
If you are not able, we hope you will take any opportunity to talk with members of Session. The people on the Session are your representatives; we need your input, as well as your prayers.
Immanuel has seen many changes, and sometimes working through changes can be a difficult thing. But we are Immanuel—God is with us. Psalm 100:5 says, “For the Lord and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 125:1 says, “Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.” God is faithful to us and we will not be shaken. God has great things in store for us.
Be sure to put March 12th and March 26th on your calendar.
The Immanuel Session
Fletcher Allison, Lucy Cortez, Ruthie Crossley, Oswaldo Garcia, Cutberto Garibay, Michelle Green, Maria Rivas, William Baxa, Nelson Palencia, Debbie Breeding, Grace Rice, Tracey Brown.