After sharing the news with folks at Asbury United Methodist Church this past week and this morning in worship, I’d like to formally announce that I have received and accepted a call to serve as Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Ashland, Oregon. We are moving the first week of November and I will be starting work on November 15th.
We are grateful for the community at Asbury UMC in Livermore, and it’s been a great 3+ years getting to know them and being able to work with the youth and young adults of the congregation. However, after Sarah finished her course work, we started talking about beginning the process of looking for a call. I had finally been Certified and Ready by the Presbytery of San Francisco, and it just felt like things were coming together.
Initially, I wasn’t looking for any positions in Oregon, and it was quite by accident that I stumbled across First Presbyterian Church’s CIF (job posting). However, one of the first things I noticed on their website was that they had recently become a Covenant Network church (so they are welcoming and affirming of LGBT folk), which is huge for me. As I began to learn more about them through interviews and conversations, it felt more and more like a solid possibility. Looking back, it’s clear that God was involved all throughout this process, and it eventually became clear to the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee and to us that this was certainly where God was calling me.
Sarah and I went up to Ashland last week; we met many of the congregation members, I preached, I got a chance to hang out with some of their youth and we had a great visit. Someone from the congregation even baked us a pie (check out this link for a very cool blog). We also found a house to rent and a new OB/GYN who will be with us to deliver Caleb! So everything is coming together.
I’ll be serving as Associate Pastor, and my responsibilities will cover a broad range of ministries of the church; I’m excited for all of it. I’m especially excited about the fact that FPC Ashland sits just a block or two from Southern Oregon University, and there is a great opportunity for college ministry to be a large focus of my call.
We’ll be moving up sometime around November 8-10, and I’ll be having my trials of ordination at the Cascades Presbytery meeting November 11-12. Assuming that all goes well, my ordination is set to be held at the First Presbyterian Church of Livermore on Sunday, November 27th at 2pm. If any of you are local, I’d love for you to join me on that special day (a day that is a long time coming!). I’ll post more details on Facebook in the near future, so stay tuned.
We will certainly miss friends and members of Asbury, but we are excited for where God has called us. While Ashland is a pretty small town (population is about 20,000), there are some potential opportunities for Sarah, and apparently a pretty good network of spiritual directors in the area (including Mark Yaconelli). When I stop to think about everything that is going to be happening to us in the next few months (moving, starting a new job, getting setup in a new home, getting ordained and…oh, having a baby!), it all feels a bit overwhelming, but we are also excited about all that God has in store for us.