Madam Clerk and the Session of Orange Presbyterian Church, as well as all the saints whom God has gathered into this family of faith, grace to you and peace in the name of Jesus Christ. I write this letter with a mixture of profound gratitude and great grief.
I am profoundly grateful for the love and support that members of this congregation have shown me over this chapter of my ministry. I am grateful for the trust with which you shared your struggles, the hospitality you showed in inviting me into your homes and lives. I am grateful for the front-row seat that I have when God has done powerful things in the life of this congregation.
I am very proud of the ministry I have done among you, or more correctly, the ministry God has done through me in the time I have been called here. During my time here, I have presided over five funerals, some of whom were beloved long-term saints of this congregation, others were those whom I tragically never got to know. I have ordained two of our elders and installed many more. I have prayed in your hospital rooms and in your homes. I have helped transition in and out of online and in-person worship over the course of the pandemic. I have gotten to know and loved all of you.
When I was called to this church almost three years ago, it was fully my intention to stay for as long as you would have me. However, as the course of history has changed before our eyes, I have discerned my pastoral skills are no longer what this church needs. The Holy Spirit has been moving in my heart for many months now and I trust that the Spirit will continue to move not only within my heart, but in the heart of the church as well.
Neither ambition nor a more lucrative salary are what is bringing our time together to an end. No minister can do all things, and there are lessons this congregation needs to learn which I am ill-equipped to teach. There are also areas in which I need to grow which I cannot accomplish here. I also have faith that God’s providence will send you a great leader for the transition and for the next chapter of this congregation’s life.
To that end, I have asked the Session to call a meeting of the Congregation for the purpose of dissolving our Pastoral Relationship. This meeting will take place immediately following worship on Sunday, March 27. That meeting will not, however, be our last time together, and we will have opportunities to grieve and tell one another goodbye in the time following that meeting. I will continue to be your Pastor in every way I can until the effective date of the dissolution of call. After that date, I will be abiding by the Presbytery’s Former Pastor policy.
I am grateful to God for my time among this congregation. I grieve that it is now coming to an end. I say to you all now: Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous and kind. Let all that you do be done in love. And may the peace of God, Creator, Christ, and Holy Spirit be with you this day and always. Amen.
Rev. Rebekah Tucker-Motley