Friends, I want to express my profound gratitude for all the kind notes and texts that I have received since announcing the news of my call to Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church in Severna Park, Maryland last Sunday night. I have been repeatedly moved by your expressions of support even in the midst of sadness;
it means more than I can ever adequately express.

As we all begin to live into this time of transition, I want to assure you that I will continue to serve enthusiastically as your pastor through Sunday, July 28. I will be away for a long-scheduled family trip to Georgia from June 30-July 10, which I am unable to move at this point because it involves helping get ready for my mother to move from her current house into Atlanta’s version of Kirkland Village, which she must do by mid-July because of signed contracts. But aside from that, I hope to talk, hug, laugh, cry, pray, and serve with as many of you as I can until I depart; that will be my focus.

The actual pastoral transition process is in the hands of the Session and the Presbytery at this point, and the rest of this message will be an update from the Session along those lines. In Presbyterian polity, the outgoing pastor is not permitted to play any part in that transition process so as to avoid even the appearance of inappropriate influence, so it will be the Session that will be the primary source of information on all of that.

There is still much to say and do before I go, however. But in the meantime, I want to say clearly now that it has been the greatest honor, privilege, and joy of my pastoral ministry to be your pastor for almost seven years now, and that I will carry what we have shared together as a special treasure in my heart and keep you always in my prayers for all my remaining days.

Grace and Peace,


Dear FPCB Congregation,

On Sunday evening, we met with J.C. as he shared the announcement of his new call.  Rev. Rhonda Kruse (Transitional Presbyter for Lehigh Presbytery) and Rev. Taylor Hall (liaison for the Committee on Ministry) were both present to offer their support.

During that meeting, we voted to call a Congregational Meeting following Summer Worship on Sunday, July 28 to vote on dissolving the pastoral call between J.C. and First Pres.  This is the formal action needed to empower him in taking the new call.  After this congregational meeting, we’ll gather to reflect on and celebrate J.C.’s ministry with us.  More information about that event, including volunteer needs, will be shared in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, we want to assure you that we are already hard at work planning for a smooth transition upon J.C.’s departure.  Following Presbytery guidance, the Personnel Committee and Session are working on a leadership bridge plan to get us from the end of July to the start of a Transitional Pastor, and Session is working to form a search team for that Transitional Pastor position.  We hope to have that team formed and the position posted very soon after the conclusion of J.C.’s tenure.  (Presbytery policy precludes us from beginning that search until then.)

Perhaps most importantly, we trust that the Spirit is already moving here, preparing us and leading us in next steps, just as the Spirit was at work in making way for J.C.’s new call.  While seasons of transition can be a time of grief and worry, it is also a time for possibility and hope. 

We honor the myriad of feelings folks may be having, and we want to make sure you all know that your lay leaders, Lindsey, and Suzanne, are happy to lend a listening ear or offer support however we can.  Don’t hesitate to reach out!  We’re also committed to keeping you informed as we navigate this transition together. 

We give thanks both for J.C.’s ministry with us and for God’s faithfulness to this congregation through all of its many changes in our 149 year history!

In Christ,|
FPCB Session