When there is a change of pastors in a church, one of questions many persons have is, “Will I like this pastor?”   There is a less known, but equally important, question.  It is “Will the pastor like me?”

When I came to Genesis 22 months ago, I thought it was for a brief few weeks.  Soon, I felt loved and affirmed and I fell in love with this congregation.  That’s the reason I agreed to stay for almost two years.

Today, as I prepare to end my pastoral time at Genesis June 30, I feel loved and affirmed.  Your send-off of me on June 17 was a high moment for me.  I am grateful that I was able to assist at a crucial time in the history of this congregation.  I helped to build an atmosphere of hope, and we again became a strong congregation because so many of you stepped up at critical times to help us become established at our new location.

I appreciate the farewell gifts.  The dogwood tree planted between the church and the road will bring beauty year after year.  The devotional book is a labor of love that I hope all of you enjoy reading.  I have decided that the love gifts you gave will be divided two ways.  One-half will be added to the Genesis endowment fund, because I believe in your long-term future.  The other one-half will go to the Brubaker Thompson Peace Fund, which helps provide funds for programs of peace and justice. It, too, is endowed and will assist in peacemaking forever.

I have been enriched by getting to know so many of you.  Your commitment to Christ and to each other is contagious.  At a time when many persons are turned off by churches that seem entrenched in maintaining themselves, Genesis continues to be a beacon of light and inclusiveness that is bringing faith alive for many.

I am delighted that your new pastor, Tommy Boutell, is so caring and creative. As you get to know him, you will discover his deep faith and his commitment to making a better world by equipping you and others.  Genesis made a leap of faith by committing to a full-time pastor, and that step will bear fruit in the months to come.

How can you help?  Volunteer to help at least one way in a ministry of the church.  Attend classes or events that help you grow and get to know each other.  As you can, up your financial giving to help Genesis over the budget hump later this year.

I repeat.  I feel loved and affirmed having been your pastor.  I hope that all of you love and affirm your new pastor, and that you feel loved and affirmed by him and others.

I will always be interested in how you are doing and I hope to continue receiving news from Genesis. However, I will no longer be your pastor, and I commend you with love to your new shepherd.


John Ross

A Church in Mission Moving