Message from Pastor Linman
Monday, June 20, 2022
Dear People of God at Resurrection Church:
Yesterday, June 19, the Second Sunday after Pentecost, the people of Faith Lutheran Church in Phoenix, Arizona extended a call to me to serve as their pastor. I have not yet made a decision about this call, for I wish to engage you, the leaders and members of Resurrection Church, in this final stage of my discernment. I take my commitments to you and my call to Resurrection very seriously, and you have not yet had occasion to offer your voice in this communal discernment process.
In the coming days, there will be various occasions for us to be in discerning, holy conversation together about what is before us. This coming Thursday evening, I will meet with our Congregation Council to learn their thoughts and views and feelings and to offer further information. Then also, this coming Sunday, June 26, I propose that we spend time together after worship in the parish hall during coffee hour so that all members of the congregation can have occasion likewise to express their views and concerns. Additionally, I invite anyone who wishes to have a one-on-one conversation with me – in person, on the phone, via email, or Zoom – to let me know so that we can arrange a time and format to be in conversation.
Once we have had these occasions to engage each other, I will offer to you and to Faith Church in Phoenix my decision about call on Wednesday, June 29.
Now a word about what has led us to this point. Earlier in this calendar year, the Bishop of the Grand Canyon Synod invited me to consider the possibility of a call to Faith Church, so I entered into a period of serious discernment. This invitation came as a surprise to me, as I fully anticipated when I accepted the call here that I would conclude my pastoral career with you at Resurrection Church.
Obviously, this is not an ideal time to consider a transition to another call, as it seems that in many ways we have just begun our life together, given how the pandemic has slowed down what otherwise would have been a quicker start to our shared ministry and mission. Please know that my discernment has weighed heavily on my heart and mind, for again, I take very seriously my commitments to you. During my call process with you and continuing to this day, you have been extraordinarily generous, patient, understanding, and supportive, given Nathan’s extended time of recovery from his stroke and now as he grows as a teenager. Nathan’s needs, of course, continue to have prominence in my ongoing discernment of call.
Thus, the possibility of giving expression to my calling both as a father to Nathan and as a pastor of the church in the same locale is profoundly compelling to me. I must confess that during the past couple of years, I have felt an ongoing tension and a divide between these callings, with parts of me focusing on my son in Phoenix and parts of me attending to my pastoral commitments to you, absent a sense of unity within and cohesion between these crucial features of my vocation. Faith Church in Phoenix is a mere four miles from where Nathan lives with his mother, which would enable me to be a consistent presence in his life during these remaining tender years of his growing up. Given the challenges of adolescence amidst an ongoing pandemic with lingering issues related to stroke recovery, and given that our nation and world continue in foreboding crises, Nathan would benefit from having both of his parents available to him on a daily basis in the same part of town.
Now I look forward to hearing more from you, your thoughts and views and concerns, as this communal discernment process draws closer to the time of a decision.
May God in Christ continue to lead and guide us in the power of the Spirit,
Pastor Jonathan Linman