Letter from Pastor Caroline Smith (09.09.21)

Greetings and blessings upon each of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Our family continues to work through the logistics of our move to Atlanta. We have been praying for you in the midst of our mutual transitions.

According to William Bridges, there are three phases of transitions as ending, the neutral zone and the new beginning. Our family has come to the ending zone in this transition. We have said our goodbyes and see you laters. We’ve spent time with friends that are like family and received a loving farewell dinner where there were laughter and tears as we remembered God’s goodness and grace in allowing us to write sacred history together. The end is bitter sweet…the way all loss is when there is great love shared and a departure in the works.

“There is plenty we have to give up in order to grow.
For we cannot deeply love anything without becoming vulnerable to loss.
And we cannot become separate people, responsible people, connected people, reflective people
without some losing and leaving and letting go.”
–Judith Viorst

The scriptures and the lives of faithful persons through history have given witness to God calling persons into new places. In Genesis 12:1, God calls Abraham to “Leave your country, your kindred and your father’s house for a country which I will show you.” In following that call, Abraham made major changes in the way he was living, which resulted in a real shift to something beyond his past experience. Abraham, even with a clear call from God, did not know the details of what was going to happen. The call required risk and moving into an unknown future. In order to be faithful to God’s call, an ending was required and that meant saying farewell to family and the place where he had lived. Like Abraham, we have to say goodbye to the place where we have been…to family, to friends, to loved ones. This is where we are and we seek your prayers in these times.

You are also at the ending phase of transition. Over the several months, you have been considering who you are before God and what God has for you in the future. You have concluded that the legacy of reaching people for Christ must move forward. Parkway Baptist Church has deep foundational roots of ministry in this community. From these deep roots of tradition, heritage, and mission comes the opportunity for fresh fruits in ministry and outreach. You are ready to journey with the winds of the Spirit blowing a new power into the church…a renewing of vision and mission.

This is a good place for God to have us meet. Effective coping with our endings and beginnings require the assistance of all of us in the context of caring for one another and in the context of shared community in Christ.   

So, with confidence in God, let us journey together through the wilderness of changes ahead for both you and me that we may come to know the beauty of God’s promise given to Isaiah:

Behold I am doing a new thing;
Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
–Isaiah 43:19

Grace and peace,