Dear CCOV Family,
Happy Thanksgiving! During this season of offering thanks, I am reminded of all I am grateful for! One of the things for which Clint and I are most thankful is our CCOV family and the close friendships we have made over the past 11 years. It has been my greatest joy to serve as your pastor since December of 2015. As I have told you before, the only drawback is that we have to continue to live in Prescott, over 100 miles away, at least for another ten months or so until Clint can retire from the VA. It’s not that I don’t like Prescott-I really do, but what I regret is not being able to be a part of church life outside of worship and the few visits that I can make on weekends. I would love to be able to go to UMOM with you, offer a Wednesday night study, or just be able to get together more often and be close to the church during the weekdays.
Two springs ago, Rev. Dr. Dick Wing visited our church one Sunday, newly retired from his Disciples of Christ mega church in Ohio. The Disciples of Christ is a denomination enjoying complete reciprocity with the UCC. Council was pleased to offer him the office in the sanctuary, where he continues his writing (he has authored a number of Christian books). In return he has filled our pulpit twice when I have gone on vacation and has been on call for any pastoral emergencies that might arise when I am gone or just can’t get to fast enough. For nearly a year now he has served as the interim pastor at First Christian Church in Scottsdale, a position that ends at the end of December. As he and I developed a friendship, we began discussing ways we could use his experiences as a large-church pastor to enhance the life of CCOV and also relieve a bit of Clint’s and my driving burden.
Most of you know that I went to seminary and completed a chaplaincy formation program because I first I believed my ministerial call was to be a chaplain. During those years I developed my strengths in pastoral care and preaching, but I never pursued a course that would help me grow a church or equip me for leading one. These are skills and experiences that Dick has. I thought of the idea of co-pastoring with him when his interim ends in December, and he became very excited. I proposed the idea to council: that Dick and I would split my part-time salary and he and I would alternate preaching on Sundays. I would still be with you in worship (and choir) but would stay home only the first Sunday of the month so Clint and I could get a break from all the driving. Dick would be a weekday presence at the church, and between the two of us, we would lead Sundays in the summer and relieve those of you who have worked so hard at maintaining our summer program. I have listened to Dick’s enthusiastic ideas: foreign missions (he has Guatemala connections), a wine-tasting evening fundraiser for new sanctuary windows, website enhancements, book studies, visiting everyone on the rolls to get to know folks, and so on. Council voted to give Dick a three-month trial pending a congregational vote. Because we are a Congregational Church, you may vote at our end-of-January Annual Meeting on whether or not you want the arrangement to continue on a trial basis for three months. By then you will have had the opportunity to hear Dick preach twice. We will revisit the issue after the first three months. If you vote yes, Dick and I will be your co-pastors-two for the price of one! I can’t help but think that this is a win for CCOV in that we benefit from Dick’s expertise and experience, it is a win for Dick as he has a place to put all of his incredible energy and desire to minister, and it is a win for Clint and me because we get a little break from driving on I-17.
I wish you and your families a Happy Thanksgiving. The scripture this week is Mark 13:1-8 and my sermon title is “The End, Again.” See you all in church!