June 11, 2020
Dear Community of Hope,
God’s calling in our lives is sometimes evident from far away, sometimes, it happens rather quickly. This past week, I was offered a letter of call to a 2-point Parish with St James Lutheran Church and Episcopal Church of the Saviour in Hanford, CA. Through prayer and discernment I have agreed to take this call.
This is a difficult time to be considering how to “be” church, let alone during pastoral transition. I believe that Hope has rounded the curve on how to care for one another, to the best of the congregation’s ability, through the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis.
Even in the midst of difficulty, a vibrant ministry at Hope has taken hold(the food pantry). I believe the food pantry ministry points to a saving grace of Hope if allowed to flourish and grow through community volunteers and engagement. This ministry is tangible evidence of God working through and at Hope. Our rock is our Lord and evidence the Lord is with you is present and visible through folks from outside the congregation lined up for food and willing to volunteer with this exciting and meaningful ministry. Your calling is to have faith, set up a structure, and get out of the way.
My calling is to also have faith, set up a structure, and get out of the way, too. I believe God is calling each of us forward into new territory in terrifying and exhilarating ways. Abusive, dysfunctional, and harmful systems across our nation are being dismantled and reimagined. I am being called to a new place to continue that good work. You are being called to the same at Hope. Dismantle what does not serve GOD and dream. Call on the Holy Spirit and trust that God is with each of us as we do this good work.
I will be meeting with council tomorrow to establish my last day preaching at Hope, but anticipate no later than the first Sunday of July to be my last with you all.
Thank you for your support and good work for God’s kingdom here in our community. I have grown in our time together. Now it is time to set out with faith and continue sharing God’s love in new ways.
Julie A. Kelly
Hope Lutheran Church
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“Our connection to others is what binds us to life.”
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