This letter is a bittersweet one for me to write. I have accepted a new call to serve as the Senior Pastor/Head of Staff at Sunnyside Presbyterian Church in South Bend, IN, pending a congregational vote on Sunday, April 18. My final Sunday at Hope Presbyterian Church will be May 23. Between now and May 23, I will work to pass off my roles and responsibilities so that after I leave, the Christian education ministry can continue uninterrupted.
I feel excited about this change for a number of reasons. During this time of pandemic, I’ve had opportunities to discern what next steps God might have planned for my vocation, and through this process of discernment, I realized that my call had shifted. While I still feel passion about the church’s role in ministering to children and youth, I have sensed God leading me toward serving a congregation more broadly. Receiving this opportunity to grow into a Head of Staff position fills my heart with joy and anticipation.
However, I will miss my Hope community terribly. These last four years have been wonderful, and I’m glad I had the privilege of serving as your pastor. Building relationships with you all—especially the children, youth, and their families—has been a highlight of my time in Texas. Not being able to see many of your faces in person over the last thirteen months has been deeply hard on my soul. Certainly, were it up to me, I would have chosen a different way to finish my time here. Part of what makes this a difficult decision to make and a difficult letter to write is how deeply I have come to care for all of you at Hope, and knowing I might not get to say goodbye to many of you in person.
Please keep my family and me in your prayers during this time of transition. While I will no longer be serving as your pastor, I will continue to hold all of you in my heart. I will remember with joy the feeling of welcome, love, and care I received from you, and I will keep you in prayer as you continue to pursue knowing and loving Jesus more.
Hope has been a marvelous church for my first call as a pastor. My prayer is that whoever God sends to Hope next would also feel the same welcome and love I received from you.
May the Lord bless you and keep you;
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
May the Lord lift his countenance upon you and give you peace—now and forevermore.
With all the gratitude and affection of Christ,
Rev. Joel Moody