Since the end of March when we announced that we would be moving back to California we have answered many questions about what the future, both near and far, holds for our family and for Hilltop. Each day, or week, seems to bring more clarity as we journey into this time of transition. For our family the questions began when my father’s concerns began in July 2016. As his body was fighting the malignant tumor that was discovered on his kidney (which was successfully removed and has shown no signs of recurrence) he experienced ParaNeoPlastic Syndrome which created lesions in his brain. The lesions initially impacted his facial muscles and ultimately compromised the strength and mobility of the right side of his body. Today, he is cancer-free but has mobility limitations. This week my parents are moving into a senior community, into a house that is intentionally accessible.
Robin began her new job as Financial Services Supervisor of the Food and Nutrition Department of the University of CA, Davis Medical Center the last week of April. She is staying in my parent’s old house (the one they are moving out of), where Ryan has been living since hee ministries of this church and to serve this community. As we navigate this season of change I found hope and reassurance in the stories, past and present, of the people of Hilltop. I give thanks for God’s faithfulness to you and your faithfulness to God. I look forward to hearing about what God is doing through your ministry in the years to come moved to CA in August. This is where we will all live until we settle into more permanent housing. Robin returned to CT this past week to help pack up the house and provide transitional support to both of her former employers.
Ryan spent a week with me in Paris, picking up Alyssa from her study abroad. Ryan was in CT for a few days and has now returned to Sacramento to a new position (promotion) position at Centene (formerly HealthNet) where he began working last August.
Many have asked, “what’s next for me?” I will be at Hilltop through the end of June; July 1st will be my last Sunday. I do not know when I will be leaving Cromwell after that, but it will likely be soon. We are still developing our moving plan; we have already shipped one car to CA, which Alyssa will use this summer, and are working hard to maximize the suitcase space and pounds each time one of us flies out west. We will likely send Samson, our dog, before it gets too hot. And no, I do not plan to drive a moving truck, or our other car across the country! We are packing our belongings in the anticipation that they will be moved by a moving company and we will likely ship our other vehicle, although we have had multiple offers from people willing to drive it for us.
As for me vocationally, I do not intend to return to food service. This transition is primarily geographic. In fact, I am being presented as the Lead Pastor candidate to a Lutheran (ELCA) church in a suburb of Sacramento on June 10, 2018. I had a video interview with the call committee in the middle of April and took a quick, midweek trip to CA for an interview in the beginning of May. The call committee and church council have unanimously approved me, now it is up to the congregation. Their approval of me will have no impact on my completion date at Hilltop. I hope to begin ministry there in mid to late July. If things work out, I can participate in Vacation Bible School here, and there, this summer!
The process that I have gone through is different than your new pastor will go through here, because it is a Lutheran church, not a Covenant church. As many of you know, I grew up Lutheran; so serving a Lutheran church will not be altogether foreign to me. In some ways I am returning to both my geographical and theological roots. We will miss the Covenant, but not as much as we miss the people of this community, for you have been home to us for these past 8 ½ years.
I think that brings you up to speed on the Joneses. There is much to be done in preparation for the transition this next month, but none of it is more important than spending the time that we have left, together. That has been and will continue to be a priority in my ministry here. So, stop by, give a call, let’s share a meal or a cup of coffee and spend time together, and by doing so I trust that we will continue to grow deeper in our relationship with God as we deepen our relationships with each other.