As we begin this final week of my service as Mission Bay’s Transitional Minister, I am mindful of how complicated and confusing transitions can seem, especially when involving a change in relationships. For that reason, I want to be as transparent as possible about what this means for you and me moving forward. It is always my greatest hope that my actions honor the well-being of the whole church community, the callings you are living into, and the visions that have not yet emerged. This is what I strived for as your pastor and will continue to hold dear as my time in that role ends.
Some of you may recall that when founding pastor Bruce Reyes-Chow received a new call, he remained out of contact with the MBCC community for a year. This is a commonly held boundary across most denominations to keep pastors and communities of faith in loving, right relationship with one another when those roles change. It is a practice that I find challenging, as it is painful to say goodbye to dear ones with whom spiritual lives have been shared. It is also a practice I deeply believe in, as it upholds the integrity of the continued journeys of the pastor and the community. I believe it is important because it allows us to honor who and what we have been for one another, while acknowledging that something new is unfolding; new voices, relationships and ministries are emerging that need space to authentically and fully form. When MBCC does enter the search process for a settled minister, and if I feel called to apply, it is important for me to do so knowing that the vision and mission you all put forth is one formed by your own aspirations in response to God’s call, rather than the influence of myself or other former leaders.
What all this means concretely is that for the year following my final Sunday on February 26, I will not be participating in the life of the church through worship, food pantry, or other MBCC functions. I will also not continue in conversations and relationships with MBCC community members, with the exception of other ministry colleagues (including former MBCC pastors and current seminarians). I recognize that a great deal of “church” for MBCC happens over social media. To respect those places as part of this community of faith, I will be unfollowing all pages and profiles of congregants and church groups, and unfriending individuals. After a year, if anyone wishes to get in touch with me, know that it would be a delight to hear from you.
I imagine this is a lot to take in and I completely understand if anyone feels a sense of rejection, frustration, or anger at me and with this process. It does not always feel natural to me to transition relationships this way, but I believe it is the most loving and just way for both you as a community and me as a minister to move forward. Ultimately, I trust that the Spirit is moving with us all in this time, leading us deeper into our callings and to places we could not even have imagined yet.
I love each of you and the community at MBCC dearly. My sense of vocation and spiritual life has been nurtured and enlivened during my service among you. I have truly enjoyed being your Pastor and I am going to miss you tremendously. I am so grateful for each and every way we have journeyed together. I look forward to celebrating some Transfiguration Love Letters with the community this Sunday.
With a spirit of trust & love,
Pastor Lacey Hunter