Dear UUMC Family,
It is very difficult to share the news that I will be moving at the end of this appointive year (at the end of June 2014). It is a move that I had not expected to come so soon and it has been a very difficult decision to make when we are in the midst of so many new ministry endeavors at UUMC. I had envisioned being able to lead you through those changes.
My husband, Rev. Kalaba Chali, has accepted an appointment to serve as the Conference Coordinator of Mercy and Justice Ministries for the Great Plains Annual Conference with offices based in Wichita, KS. This is an amazing opportunity for him to more fully utilize his gifts and graces for ministry and we believe it is the best decision for our family. We are called to many things in life and our chosen vocation is certainly one of them. I know that I am called to ministry and that I enter into a covenant relationship with every congregation that I serve. Yet, I also know that I have a sacred covenant with my husband and my beautiful daughter, Mapalo. These family covenants are what call me to make a change at this time.
You all are an incredible congregation. You have gifts for ministry: working with children and youth, serving in the community, looking for ways to advocate for peace and justice, organizing and administering the church. I can easily say that this congregation is the most talented group of people that I have known so far and I will miss you dearly.
I say this to you today to encourage you. You are strong. You know who you are and you know how to implement new ministries. You have gone through pastoral transitions before and emerged as an even closer-knit family, yet always open to new people.
I have already spoken with our District Superintendent, Rev. Kurt Schuermann, about the skills and qualities that I believe you need in a new pastor. Our Staff Parish Relations Committee will also have such an opportunity.
I trust and pray that your new pastor will build upon the work that we have done together and that he or she will challenge you to continue to take daring steps to live into our new mission and vision. I promise you that I will do everything that I can to make this transition as positive and seamless as it can be.
I ask you to do the same. A smooth transition will depend on all of us. The lay leadership will need the congregation’s support and encouragement to step out in faith and continue ministry endeavors. The church will continue to flourish with your prayers, your presence in worship each week, your financial gifts, the service you offer the congregation and community, and your willingness to share powerful stories about God’s presence in your life.
Though it is very unique to make this announcement without being able to tell you who is coming and knowing that we still have many months together, I pray that time can be a gift that we will use well to learn, grow, and change together as we all prepare for this transition.
And until that time, it is truly an honor to serve as your pastor.
For more information on this transition, please see a special note from council chairperson Donna Wellmon.