We sang “We in one covenant are joined, and one in Jesus are” earlier. Covenanting is a grand thing, a sacred choice. It is an expression of our bond in Jesus, like the sacred bond we have with our spouse, if we are married.
As one of your pastors I have been in covenant with you to study the scriptures, to pray for you and the ministry we share, and to declare the counsel of God. In a few months this covenant which we have known will lead me to retire from the pastoral ministry of the Moravian Church. Much prayer, and reflection have led me to say that this is best for me and my family, and I believe for you, too.
You might be wondering if it is my Parkinson’s Disease (PD) making this decision. Let me be clear: it is not PD making the decision, it is PD affecting the decision The decision is primarily my turning 67 years old 8 days ago. But, yes, this corona virus pandemic has been the most challenging, stressful time of my ministry, and for my Health and well-being, stress needs to be minimized.
Parkinson's affects people differently. You have seen me with some dyskinesia: involuntary movement… occasional speech problems… hand tremors. I have fought off a lot of what the symptoms could have been through vigorous exercise, for body and soul. And singing in the choir under Jeff’s training. But it is time.
When? I’m planning for my last Sunday to be Pentecost Sunday, May 23rd, next year. Pentecost has grown to be the most significant holy day for me. I was ordained on Pentecost Sunday in 1981 and I cherish the celebration of40 years of pastoral ministry, with you. I have been blessed to serve five congregations as an ordained pastor, which, when I retire, will be 15 and a half years serving the Lord with you, brother and sister Christ followers. Thanks for that privilege and the joy in the journey together.
Thanks, grace and peace, Pastor Dean