From the Pastor….

If there is any good that has come out of the pandemic (and, believe me, in the face of so much death and grief, so much of it senseless and avoidable, there isn’t much), it is that, because we were forced out of the routine of our lives, we were afforded an opportunity to think about the direction that our lives were taking. It was through prayer and personal reflection in the early stages of the global shutdown that I realized it was time for me to start planning for a new direction in my life. 

What I also had to come to see was that it was time for a new direction for Parkway too. We’ve had a great run together over the past eighteen years. While our numbers have ebbed and flowed, I believe our spiritual growth has always been on an ever-deepening path. While we’ve seen babies born and old friends die, we have looked together for strength, comfort, and joy to the Lord, the one who created us, redeemed us, and sustains us. I believe it has been the Spirit of God, revealed through Christ, that has led us every step of the way. And it has been my privilege to serve alongside you for those years.

But now we face challenges the likes of which we may have never seen. Our society is becoming ever more secularized; the perception of the Church is at a low point; the negative impact of Covid on the institutional Church has not yet been fully realized; the emphasis on “consumer religion” leads many who have some interest in congregational life to choose a large church where anonymity is possible and personal commitment can be low. 

It is clearly time for new approaches, creative ministries and programs, and younger, innovative leadership. I believe God wants to lead Parkway in new, unexplored directions where you can respond to the community in which you have been placed. And I believe God is leading you to the person who is being called to walk alongside you in these exciting and challenging days.

I have only met Caroline Smith on one occasion for a few hours. I am impressed with her commitment, her training, and her experience. I sense a true calling from God on her ministry. But you can’t form much of an opinion after such a short time.

On the other hand, I have known the members of the search committee for many years. I have had plenty of opportunities to observe their commitment to God and the Church, their love for the Parkway family, and the maturity they have shown in countless positions of leadership over the years. I have complete confidence that they have sought and found the right person to lead Parkway into the future. 

My love for you is too deep and my gratitude for our life together is too great for me to hand off the leadership of this congregation without the knowledge that God is still the one who is in control and that our Lord has led at every step in this process. Knowing that both of those things are true, I share in your joy in knowing that God has led the Pastor Search Committee to recommend Caroline Smith as your next pastor. Under her leadership, I believe that Parkway’s greatest days of service to the Kingdom are ahead.