Dear St. Luke Friends,

We know many of you were surprised to hear from Pastor John last week that he plans to retire at the end of April. News of this nature is always difficult to hear, and we have heard from many of you that you are shocked or saddened by this turn of events. Please know this was also a surprise to the SLC and Elders. Neither group had any reason to expect this change, and neither group encouraged this step. Pastor has shared in his communication with the congregation that he has simply changed his mind on how long he will serve in a pastoral role before retirement.

We share our gratitude for John and Linda and lift them in prayer as they take this next step. It is important to thank Pastor John for the guidance he provided to St. Luke over the past two years. He has enabled us to discern a vision of We Reach, Christ Restores, which is not only consistent with our Mission and Values, but also will point us into the future. He was able to launch a next-generation care ministry that helped connect those in need with resources in the early days of the pandemic. Similarly, he successfully launched the ReConnect and ReMember ministries which kept us connected to those who had not been in church for a while and enabled us to identify more clearly those still under the spiritual and pastoral care of St. Luke. We will plan a farewell event in April that will enable you to send John and Linda off with the good wishes that they are due.

We also want you to know that Tim Arnold, our Director of Multimedia Communications, has announced he has accepted a new role beginning in late March in his home state of Arizona. Our gratitude to Tim and prayers for his new ministry are offered as well.

While it is true that several staff changes have been announced lately, all changes have been made independently and in response to God leading staff members to take a next step in their individual journeys. It simply so happens that several next steps have occurred within the space of a few months. Please know that St. Luke has the financial means and desire to recruit new staff, and the SLC is currently prayerfully reviewing the current staff job descriptions to determine how to best move forward with staffing appropriate to our Vision, Mission and Ministry plan.

We endeavor to make this shift as smooth as possible, so that together we are able to continue the successful ministries and outreach we are currently engaged in. Let us reassure you that your SLC and Elders have already met together and are taking appropriate action that will help guide our next call process to be as intentional, transparent, and inclusive as possible. We will provide regular updates as often as we can.

Our primary concern right now is that we all have the opportunity to process this change together. Because this is a priority, we have arranged some opportunities to engage in “Listening Sessions” with your St. Luke leaders. We want to hear your feelings and thoughts both about Pastor John’s retirement and about your ideas and hopes for what comes next for St. Luke. For these sessions, we will utilize the World Café model that some of you may be familiar with from the Mission and Values development back in 2017. The first session will be held on Sunday, February 27th, during the Bible study hour between the services. Another session will be held at 7:30 p.m. on March 2nd following the 6:30 p.m. Ash Wednesday service. We will also arrange at least one session via Zoom, so that we may hear from as many of you as possible.

Most importantly, please continue to keep your leadership and our congregation in your prayers, that together we may successfully discern God’s plan for St. Luke, and what the best, next steps are for our congregation and this upcoming call process. Pray also for our staff and the many volunteers at St. Luke, as they will be called upon to step up and take on new responsibilities during this period.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to SLC members and Elders if you have any concerns or questions during this process.

Serving with you in the name of Jesus Christ,

Chad Woltemath, Congregation President
Andy Smith, Elder Chairman