Dear Maribeth, Lyn, and Manitou Community Church Congregation:
With this letter I am announcing my retirement on August 1, 2022 from parish ministry and as Settled Pastor and Head of Staff of Community Congregational Church of Manitou Springs. I have two weeks of vacation, which I have not yet been able to take, so my last Sunday will be July 17th.
This is both a spiritual and a practical decision, made after much intentional discernment and consultation with my spouse, our Conference Minister, clergy colleagues, my doctors, family, and friends. This decision has been made more urgent by ongoing health issues that have made me re-think how much I am able to work outside the home; we all know we don’t get younger but for some (like me), health concerns push us to explore options earlier than we’d like.
This has been a wonderful church home for Glenn and me these past 5 years. So much has been accomplished and there is so much more of your church story to be written! The pandemic certainly brought us face-to-face with many challenges, but I am proud to declare that we have met and overcome most of them, welcoming people who were previously separated from us by distance, disability, and schedules. Learning Zoom & Facebook Live technology has allowed us to explore more creative & innovative worship design. All the while, sharing our Joys & Concerns and holding each other just a bit more closely.
Going forward, you will have a different pastor’s voice and heart leading your spiritual journey as you reshape the future of this church, which is good and healthy. Please understand, I am required by boundary rules and healthy ministry relationship practices to completely step away and step out of your lives for a minimum of the next two years. This is so we can let go of each other and you can be ready to accept—and bond with—your new pastor.
I will be so excited to learn what you have decided about your future plans and directions. I am confident that you will move ahead and put into action all these plans and dreams so that the Good News of God’s unconditional love may be heard and understood by more and more people, as many as you can possibly reach!
More will be said in the coming weeks about how we will have an intentional, healthy goodbye. There will be plenty of opportunities for you to see Glenn and me in-person or on Zoom. I am available for one-on-one meetings as well in person, on Zoom, or by telephone. Just let me know what you need. Your Pastor Parish Team, led by Deb Bornholdt, will be scheduling opportunities for just this purpose.
There is also the option for an online 2-hour class on Healthy Transitions
led by Rev. Tracey Dawson & Wendy Kidd of the Conference Healthy Ministry Relationships Wider Ministry, should your Church Council request it.
This class should be attended by as many folks as possible, and I highly recommend it.
I can’t adequately put into words yet the emotions I feel about my decision to retire from the pulpit and the love that Glenn and I have for this congregation and this church, as I really wasn’t prepared for this for several more years. Thank you for allowing me to serve as your pastor of Community Congregational Church these past 5 years.
Though I will pursue writing, worship resource development, and teaching projects in the specific areas I feel called to be involved in (Justice issues in the Ecological/Economic/Racial arenas), I am not leaving to go be the pastor of another church, nor am I planning to do guest preaching or interim ministry. You are—and will be—my final settled pastorate and as such, you will always hold a very special place in our hearts and in our memories. Also, you have made Colorado our heart-home and we don’t plan to ever leave it!!!
In faith, hope, and love,
Rev. Gaye Bosley-Mitchell (Pastor Gaye)