This last weekend in Access we announced in a staff transition that will be taking place starting January 1. Pastor Rich is changing positions and thankfully will continue to be part of our staff. I'll let Rich tell you in his own words what he will be doing:
Dear Access friends,
Christmas Eve will be my last day with the Access congregation but not my last day with FUMCR.
We're coming up on a year since Access moved to the morning and to our new facilities, and that milestone prompted me to begin thinking and praying about "what's next?" The answer could have been a lot of things, but since the very beginning of my vocational ministry I have dreamed of doing something that combined my love of technology, computer programming, and the like with service to God. Twenty years ago when I entered seminary, the church world and tech world didn't overlap much, but that has changed dramatically in the intervening years, and as I prayed and thought I came to the conclusion that now is the right time to begin exploring what new job/ministry possibilities might exist. Amazingly, our church has provided a way for me to do that here at FUMCR.
In the new year I will continue to do some typical ministry work while also branching into some technology projects. I'll continue to be the staff liaison to our Men of Faith men's ministry and our Children First school partnership ministries. I'll take over leadership for our Group Life small group ministry, and from time to time I'll serve as a backup preacher for Clayton in our traditional worship services. On the tech side, I'll manage a project to migrate our dated church database system to something newer and lead a project to take FUMCR's "My Journey" software, a program that helps guide people in practical ways to grow spiritually, and make it into a marketable product that other churches can find and use on the Internet.
There are many things I love about Access, but most of all I love you. You have listened to my teaching and returned to hear more. You have listened to God calling you to new ways of living, working, and serving and shared the experience with me as you responded. You've invited me to feed hungry people, clean up from tornado damage, tutor students, and engage in other acts of service alongside you. You've entrusted me with the highest and lowest moments of your lives. You've prayed for me and encouraged me, accepted me as the quirky person that I am, and you've done the same for countless others. You even let me dress up as Han Solo and bring R2-D2 to worship, and you invited your friends to join us! I'm grateful that although the context will change, I will get to continue being part of your lives and having you as part of mine.
You have a gifted and talented pastor in Julie, and exciting days are ahead for Access. Keep inviting your friends and neighbors to worship with you, so that they'll be able to look back one day like I am and give thanks for the many ways they've encountered God through the awesome Access community!
This Sunday right after worship we will be celebrating Rich and all the gifts and leadership he has brought to Access. Stick around after Access and be sure and share your gratitude.
We will continue our series Reindeer and Donkeys as we come closer to Christmas!
We will see you Sunday!