Pr. Laura’s new call

April 10, 2019

Dear River of Hope-ers,

I am writing to share news with you that marks a new milestone in the life of River of Hope. With both grief and joy in my heart, I will be leaving River of Hope. My last Sunday with you will be May 19.

Over the past eight years, you have taught me to be a pastor and a preacher. It has been a privilege to serve you and with you and I have loved each of you deeply. You have taught me how to love so well. It has been the most beautiful and terrible gift to be shared. You are part of my heart now, so I will carry you with me wherever I go. My departure will mean different things to different people. It might bring up other losses you’ve experienced, or you might be disappointed or angry. All these feelings are part of this process, and I am experiencing this loss as well. Let’s offer each other grace and forgiveness as we navigate these waters.  In the midst of our sadness, the Good News is always a new thing being born out of loss – this is our resurrection story that we tell every Sunday. This is our rhythm of life already as Christians.

The new call I have accepted is a brand new thing for the ELCA. I will serve as Pastor and Program Director at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter for the Continuous Growth Pathway.  I will resource and support pastors and deacons in the Southwestern and Southeastern Minnesota Synods to faithfully lead into the unknown and difficult terrain of the future of the church in healthy ways. I will commute regularly to and from Fairmont to St. Peter knowing that as the program gains steam, I will be able to work from home.

As many of you have heard me say, “Living in two places will work until it doesn’t.” Coming to this realization has been a gradual, prayerful process of listening to my life as your Pastor and as a partner with John. It has been difficult to feel my call to serve as your pastor change. The energy it takes to fully live in two places will not serve River of Hope or my marriage well for the long term.

This is a moment of hope for you as you continue your life together as a community. I know you’re ready to live into the future that God is calling you toward, discovering more about who you are as a people, and how you are called to be a specific place for hope and healing for whoever you encounter. A new pastor will bring new gifts and you’ll go in new directions! The Holy Spirit has so much up her sleeve for you. Hutchinson needs this community of faith so, so much. Mike Weisenberger, River of Hope President, will lead you well in this time of transition. Please include him and the River Table in your prayers as they lead you into and through this time of transition.

My life is forever changed because of how our lives have been brought together to follow Jesus. I am grateful beyond words. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

All my love and a little bit more,

Laura

 P.S. I would be grateful if you kept this news off of social media until after worship on Sunday, April 14.

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