To our loved ones at Hilliard UMC,
It is with a heavy heart filled with anticipation that I share with you that Bishop Palmer has asked me to finish my 11th year of appointment to Hilliard this June so that I can serve as Senior Pastor at Christ Marietta UMC beginning June 30.
We have shared countless laughs, tears, stories, experiences of deep pain and great joy, over our years together. We’ve seen the church through times of transition and difficult seasons. There is great forward momentum here, which is perhaps why it is time for me to be sent elsewhere. When I arrived in 2008, I had pipe-dream hopes of being here for 10 years, to get Sarah through high school. By the grace of God, and the cabinet’s compassion for our circumstances, we were given 11 years together.
You helped us to raise Sarah into the strong young woman she is today — and she has countless parents who will continue to support her as she stays near Hilliard and Brook and I transition to Marietta. She’ll still be scooping up ice cream across the roundabout.
Marietta Christ is the first Methodist Church in Ohio, founded in 1799. The sanctuary dates to 1885, has a Kleist pipe organ, a 70-person ukulele choir, and gorgeous stained glass. It is the largest of four UMCs in Marietta, the largest in Washington County, located 3 blocks from Marietta college. The current pastor is retiring, and they asked for someone to lead the congregation into a new life-cycle of discipleship. They are known for their music ministry and mission outreach. They have members who are theologically conservative, moderate, and progressive. They desire a pastor with a heart for social justice, a sense of humor, approachability, and solid relationship skills across all age groups.
I was introduced as their Senior Pastor on Monday evening, March 18. I believe we can do vital ministry together there, just as we have for 11 years here. Know that I will hold you all close in my heart as we go through this time of transition. My last Sunday here will be June 2.
Know, also, that District Superintendent Tim Bias is working closely with Pastor April to find the right person to step in and serve here. Hilliard is a fabulous appointment, with an extraordinary congregation. The one selected will be very blessed to serve here. I will be praying for you in this time of transition, and I trust you will be praying for us. I trust God to do a fabulous new thing, for all of us.
As for me, you have borne with me through many seasons, and you have increased my faith and inspired me on countless occasions. You have challenged me, and helped me to think through my own leadership. You have molded me and shaped me and prepared me to go from this place to serve in a new mission field. There will never be words adequate to express my gratitude, so I will end with what I began with nearly 11 years ago: I love you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
With deep love and eternal gratitude,
Pastor Karen, Brook, and Sarah