Beloved People of Trinity,
I missed being with you for our Christmas worship services this year. I hope you found a renewed sense of awe and wonder as you encountered God and God’s immense love for you - and the world - in the Christmas narrative.
For the past several weeks, I have been focusing on self-care as I navigate the symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD.
As many of you know, I have been dealing with challenges related to my mental health for about two and a half years.
In the past month, I had several conversations with Bishop Shelley about my mental health as it started to greatly impact my ability to work - much less go about my day. After speaking with her again earlier this week, she encouraged me to pursue disability leave due to my current condition - which has been granted to me for up to 6 months.
I will be with you in worship this Sunday (January 7) and begin my leave after that.
As you can imagine, I have a mix of emotions around this decision; however, my health care providers and I agree this is an important step toward healing for me.
I am humbled at the way this demonstrates care and how this church is putting words into action around what it means to provide support for life’s journey (one of Trinity’s core values).
I am beyond grateful for the support you have offered me throughout my call as your pastor and hope this time away will help me to be a healthier leader and human for when I return.
As things shift and evolve in my absence, Mark Schmidt and the rest of the Congregation Council will continue to help support me, as well as the church and schools. If you have any immediate questions, you can direct them to Mark, the Council President (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you would like to contact me, you can leave messages at the church office or email email@example.com and your correspondence will get to me.
I pray for God’s continued ministry through TLCS in this time and trust that you are in the good hands of the TLCS staff, the Church Council and one another, plus the support of the Northwest Washington Synod - and God, of course.
And I pray for you, dear church. Thanks be to God for the ways you show up for each other and for all of God’s people - big and small - through this work for which we have been called. May God be with you through your joys and sorrows, challenges and celebrations and everything in between.
With thanks for you and the transformative work of the Spirit,
O God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending,
by paths as yet untrodden,
through perils unknown.
Give us faith to go out with good courage,
not knowing where we go,
but only that your hand is leading us
and your love supporting us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.