I announced my retirement from being the senior pastor at Mayfair-Plymouth at our annual celebration/congregational meeting in January. The Lord willing, by my retirement this coming October I will have completed 39 years of ministry at M-P and into my 40th year. What follows is the letter I wrote to the congregation.
From Pastor Dave:
God is doing His good and great work in our Mayfair-Plymouth Church Family. Part of what He has been doing is leading us through a process of transition in which Pastor Joe is to be your next senior pastor. As you recall, I had announced my intention to retire in October of 2015. The transition is going well, so well that I believe God is leading us to shorten this transition. Therefore it is my intention to retire a year earlier, in October of this year, 2014. By God’s grace we will conclude our ministry at Mayfair-Plymouth on Sunday, October 12.
This decision has not been made lightly. First, let me say that this decision was made by me and my wife Diann. No one has suggested moving the date up. When I told Rupert he was surprised, but came to respect my decision. A week later I told Joe of my plans and he too was surprised.
Several factors have played into the decision. I really do believe the transition is going very well and that another year would make the transition too long. In October it will be time for the church to move on with a new senior pastor, Pastor Joe.
I truly believe that God calls a pastor to step away from a church as well as step into a church. I felt God’s calling in 1975 to be the pastor of Mayfair-Plymouth and now I feel God’s release from His calling upon me as pastor of Mayfair-Plymouth. I prayed in seminary that the Lord would call me to a church “for a good long time, if not a lifetime.” Mayfair-Plymouth has been my lifetime pastoral ministry, and I believe it is coming to a close.
Since our grandson Danny’s death this past year Diann and I have both felt an urgency to come alongside both of our adult children and our grandchildren. Life here on earth is short. We want to embrace our new calling to be with them.
Both Diann and I don’t see this so much as retiring as God calling us to a new phase in our lives. Our plans are to divide our time between our daughter Julie and her family in Mexico and our son Dan and his family in Tampa, Florida. In Florida I hope to mentor and encourage younger pastors as well as focus more on writing and photography. In Mexico I’ll be able to fulfill my dream as a little boy to be a missionary; we’ll be missionaries along with Julie and Victor!
We’ll be selling our house and hope to move immediately after our retirement in mid-October and settle near Dan and the family in the Tampa area. Then, soon after Christmas, we’ll head to Mexico to begin building a small house at Refuge Ranch.
There is, of course, a sadness about our leaving. We have lived so much of life together with you, our church family! We all will grieve this transition. I have to remind myself, and I remind you too, that this day was to come sooner or later. It’s just happening a bit sooner.
We won’t be dropping off the edge of the earth. I’ll continue to write, share photography, and videos on my web site. You’re invited to keep in touch via e-mail. You’re also invited to stop by either in Florida or Mexico for a visit. There will be a guest room waiting for you in both locations!
The plan, as agreed upon by the congregation several months ago, is to have a special congregational meeting in the not-too-distant future at which time there will be a vote to officially call Pastor Joe as your new senior pastor, to take effect when I retire in mid-October. Pastor Rupert plans on staying as one of your pastors for a few months after my retirement to further facilitate the transition.
Though Diann and I have rejoiced in being a part of the life of Mayfair-Plymouth for such a long time (and part of your life too!) the church will go on without us. The vitality of Mayfair-Plymouth and your own spiritual walk with the Lord is dependent on the Lord, not any human being. Depend on Him! Love Him! Walk with Him! Yes, just stay close to Jesus!
With love, always, for His precious church, Mayfair-Plymouth,
Pastor Dave (and Diann)