March 9, 2015
Dear members and friends of St Timothy,
This is one of the most difficult letters I have had to write, but I am writing to announce that I will be ending my call at St Timothy and have accepted a new call in Kingston, NY. My final Sunday will be Sunday April 12th with my final act as pastor of St Timothy on April 18th. This was not an easy or rash decision and called for a lot of prayer and discernment over the last few weeks.
Let me first answer the question why. Kingston, NY is located approximately 40 minutes away from my parents, 15 minutes away from where Patty and I went to college, and 1.5hrs away from Patty’s family. As many know, my mother has muscular sclerosis and my father is getting ready to retire at the end of next year. For the last few years, my parents have needed a bit more help each time I visited. It has been difficult these last few years being 6hrs away and the primary caretaker for both of them. Being in such close proximity will help out tremendously as they age and as their need for more care grows. This was the heaviest weight in my decision making process.
The second reason was that it has been difficult to watch this last year as Patty came home each night from a job that has not been fulfilling. Last year, she was laid off from a teaching position where she felt fulfilled and received joy from teaching. It was a shock when she was told about the possibility of being laid off. When it happened, Patty was very upset. This was the second heaviest weight while making the decision.
The final reason was the financial situation at St Timothy. It has been widely known that we have been at a tipping point when it came to keeping a pastor or making some very tough decisions about the direction of St Timothy. I have been vocal in the need for St Timothy to be a presence in Geneseo and the surrounding areas and to remain an active proclaimer of Christ’s grace in the area. St Timothy is needed in Livingston County. The leadership knew that tougher decisions would have to be considered in the near future. Stepping aside will give the congregation a chance to recoup, refocus, and continue to be a presence and worshipping center in the community. You are needed here. While not the heaviest weight, it was one of the items considered.
I want to say that I have truly been blessed these last 10+ years. We have done amazing things together to help our community, help the wider church, and to help our neighbors. I have grown to love each and every one of you throughout my time and trust me when I say it has been an incredibly difficult few weeks. I am excited about the new call and truly believe I have gifts that they can use, but I am leaving an incredible congregation that I care deeply about. I love you as a congregation and you have been such a joy in my life. You have incredible leadership, a warm and inviting hospitality, and you have welcomed Patty and me into your lives. Thank you for these last 10+ years. You will continue to be in my prayers and in my heart. I will carry you with me.
Yours in Christ,
Pastor Justin Johnson