Note – Pastor Cathi’s last Sunday preaching is June 12th. We will honor her with a potluck after worship on June 12th. Please come and share a meal and some stories and say your farewells as we honor her 29 years in pastoral ministry!
For everything, there is a season; and a time for every purpose under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us that seasons come and go: in nature, in our lives, and in our churches. Each season serves a purpose, and leaves well-prepared soil for the next season’s work. I believe that our system of appointing pastors adds an unexpected richness to our lives as United Methodists. It gives us all an opportunity to live into and through many different seasons.
I have mixed emotions about my season of retirement. It is a new and unknown time for me, as your season as a Cooperative Parish will be to you. I am excited, and a bit uncertain, but mostly I keep wondering how I got this old so fast. Overall, I look forward to discovering what God wants to teach and show me in this new season of my life.
I am also deeply saddened, because it means leaving you. We have built relationships that are important to me; and I am blessed by your faith and love. We have laughed, wept, mourned, and prayed together. We have fed the hungry through the food pantry, food trucks, community meals, and Thanksgiving Drive Thru. We have shared Baptisms, Communion (in little plastic packages), Weddings and Funerals. You have given me a beautiful home, and welcomed me into yours. You have received my strengths, and been patient with my faults. You have embraced my love of dandelions, smiled at my loyalty to the Red Wings, dodged my confetti — AND we weathered a global pandemic together! It has been good serve with and among you, and it is hard to say goodbye.
I am also content to leave you. That may sound strange, but it is true. You are stronger, bolder, and more confident. You face differences and disagreements in new ways, and you are more open to change even when it’s a bit scary. You have learned to zoom, to worship online, to adapt to covid protocols and to respect the health concerns of others. Together, we discovered that we can worship God without singing, even if we don’t like it. You have come through it all — and you are ready for your new season as a Cooperative Parish. So, welcome the Rev. Kayla Roosa with open and trusting hearts. She will bring gifts, energy and ideas I do not have, and she will love and guide you as your pastor. That is why I will not return to preside over weddings or funerals, or interfere with your ability to form with her the same relationships that I treasured with you. This is God’s season, God’s time, and God’s purpose – for Bethany and Otisvill UMCs and for God’s kingdom on earth.
As for me, I am grateful for God’s call upon my life, and for the opportunity to serve 5 of the most blessed congregations for 29 years. I will continue to serve the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry as the Chair of the Order of Elders, but I am not seeking a new appointment in retirement. I hope to some writing, improve my health, visit with family, volunteer in a different setting, and rest my spirit — not necessarily in that order. I am thankful to the denomination that welcomed me: a former member of the Roman Catholic and Christian Reformed Churches, who had been taught that women are not called to pastoral ministry.. The UMC affirmed my gifts, challenged me, and trusted me with the most surprising, exhausting, terrifying, rewarding, frustrating and fulfilling work I have ever done. May God be praised for any fruit my ministry may have borne.
Shalom, dear friends. Shalom.
Rev. Cathi Huvaere