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Farewell from Pastor Sandy


In the eight years I have been a pastor, I have noticed that my life has become a series of layers. Each week has a specific focus based on preparation for the next Sunday.  And Sundays group together by seasons—both liturgical seasons, like Advent and  Lent, and the seasonal patterns of the calendar year. And on top of those seasons lies another layer of time and planning—the Annual Conference appointment year, which is July to June each year.

As pastors, we live with other layers also. We become attached to our congregations, churches, and communities. But we also acknowledge a call to service in the greater world, and a commitment to go faithfully when we are called to  another church or ministry, or even a different phase of life.

And so it is, within all the comfort and complexity, I am called to serve in a new way, in a new place. As of July 1, I will be appointed as the pastor at Manito United Methodist Church in Spokane.  

I look upon this as the next great adventure and a wonderful opportunity to experience ministry in a new and different setting. This is an exciting part of faith, of following that which God places within me and in front of me. I recognize the leading provided by the Holy Spirit. I have prayed and have spent time in discussion and discernment, and I am affirmed by the words in Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season,a time for every purpose under heaven.

However, my heart is conflicted in terms of loyalty and love, that I leave two congregations I have come to know like an extended family. We have been so blessed to work together as a CoOp, and endure the uncertainties of a multi-year pandemic.  We have worshiped inside and outside, online and in person, independently and collaboratively. And it has all been good! We have grown and changed, responding to the needs of our neighbors and community.

A call for me to move is also a call for a new pastor to move here. Pastor Kellen Corliss will come with new energy and ideas, and will be a great asset to the CoOp and the First Olympia ministry team. Change is good. The best thing we can do as disciples and as a church, is to never become complacent. God calls us to keep growing in our faith, and in our service. And when we do that, we build a stronger community that restores and sustains one another. We rise up to the occasion of God’s work before us.

Thank you for all the love and support you have given to me personally. And thank you for opening your hearts to working closer together with Tumwater UMC. I will be here through June, so there is time for good-byes and transitions. After that I will keep watching FUMCO from afar, cheering you on, praying for all that you do in this next season.

“Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up.  So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity.”  (Galatians 6:9-10)

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Sandy

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