Dear Church, In this season of Epiphany, we marvel at the how God is manifest to us in the world, often in surprising ways. That has certainly been true for me this season. God has shown up unexpectedly, disrupting my plans and pulling my heart in an unforeseen direction. It is with a profound mixture of joy and sorrow that I write to announce that, as of their vote Sunday, January 27th, I have been called to serve as the Pastor of First Congregational Church in Falmouth, Maine. I will be leaving King’s Chapel on May 5th, 2019. As we celebrated the Christmas and Epiphany season together, I have marveled at the beauty, warmth, and vitality of this special place. From sharing animated Bible discussions in Advent, basking in the majesty of the candlelit Lessons and Carols service, eavesdropping on the deep discussion in the Confirmation classroom, witnessing careful committee deliberations, to walking with you as you face and support one another through changes, challenges, and heartache - you all are doing the work of the church. It is an honor to be your minister. Serving under the Reverend Joy Fallon has taught me much about what a minister should be: empathetic, brave, prayerful. Reverend Joy is an inspiring and caring colleague who cares deeply about this community. She leads from a place of faith, and models that faith in all that she does. My other colleagues here at King’s also deserve much recognition: Gretchen Horton, who (somewhat literally) holds us all together, Faye Charpentier, whose clear headed ability to crush her goals consistently leaves me amazed, Laura Zeugner, whose friendly, patient, and unfazed presence is the face of KC to our many visitors and does it all without losing her humor; Clark Aitkins, whose down to earth sensibilities keep us humble; Julie Relyea, who loves our children so much they don’t know they are learning, and Heinrich Christenson, who quietly reminds us who we are, blesses us with the City’s best music, and tells the most wonderful stories. I love working with this team.
And yet, as I was approached to consider a call to ministry at Falmouth Congregational, I felt God tugging on my heart. This ministry will let me live into not simply my call to the pastorate, but also the call of family life; My parents’ house is seven minutes away, much of Jake’s family twenty. We will be surrounded by family, old friends, familiar school systems, and the ocean and forests that make me feel closest to God. After much prayer and discernment, I believe, as we say together in Morning Light Worship, this to be “the thing that God has planned.” Over these next four months I will continue to serve fully as your Assistant Minister, while supporting Joy and the Assistant Minister Search Committee in any way I can with their search process. It is my hope that I will be able to train the minister who replaces me, ensuring a smooth transition. Below this letter you will find a letter from Joy, speaking to this news and to next steps. I look forward to being in community with you over these next months, as we enjoy our present, look towards the future, and listen for the still speaking voice of God. With so much love, care and thanksgiving, Amelia
Dear King’s Chapel Community,
As you have read from Amelia, in May we will send her on to her next church, with all our love and blessings. I will miss Amelia tremendously because she has been a wonderful colleague who has led many of our ministries with grace and extraordinary competence. She accomplished a great deal while among us, for which I am deeply grateful.
Under Amelia’s leadership, our church school began to take off; we chose three city partners with whom we will act for God’s justice in Boston; and we grew spiritually – in the frequent and engaging small group discussions she led, through her thoughtful sermons and pastoral conversations with us, and at retreats.
These many gifts of Amelia’s are at the root of the loss we’ll feel, and the reason she was sought out by Falmouth Congregational (UCC) in Falmouth, Maine. That Congregation correctly recognized that Amelia is fully ready to lead a church as its sole pastor, and we rejoice both for her and for them. I’m grateful to Amelia that she forestalled Falmouth for as long as she has, by insisting that she would continue her ministry here through Easter. This gives us time to search for a new Assistant before her departure.
Towards that end, our Senior Warden Miguel Gomez-Ibanez has agreed to chair the search committee. The other members are Carol Genovese, active participant in the Adult Religious Education and Community Action Committees; Joan Hunt, former long-time Church School Director at the Weston and Chestnut Hill Unitarian Churches; and Amanda Ciegelski, who has helped us with the Personnel, Chancel and Fiscal Affairs Committees. The job description will be posted this week and will be available on our website. I encourage you to share it with those whom you think might be strong candidates for this role.
We also have secured a strong interim minister to lead us this summer, during my long-planned sabbatical (June-August). The Rev. Dr. Rali Weaver, Senior Minister at the Dedham Unitarian Church for the last 12 years, and former Assistant Minister at King’s Chapel (2005-2007). Rali knows our liturgy very well, knows may of you members, and is an experienced leader who can help a new Assistant Minister learn the ropes here during the relative quiet of the summer. We are blessed that Rali’s own church does not meet during the summer, so that we are able to have her serve us full-time during my hiatus.
Friends, I am convinced that God’s love is unending: far more spacious than we can imagine, and far stronger than we ever understand. God’s love will support Amelia as she ventures forward in God’s service, the central goal of her life. God’s love will also support all of us here during this time of transition. So in prayer we go forward, rejoicing in that all-sustaining love.