Dear Hills Church Family,
Having been approved for ordained ministry in the United Church of Christ, I write to you with a heart full of gratitude for the support and enthusiasm you have given to me these past four years: three years of seminary education and a final year to complete the stages of examination within the Metropolitan Boston Association of the UCC.
And while words like “support” and “enthusiasm” beautifully reflect the kindnesses you have shown to me, they cannot adequately describe the gifts you have given. Your generosity of heart and spirit, collectively and individually, your bright smiles, inquisitive interest, and words of encouragement were, and are, more than support. They are more than enthusiasm. You, my church family, have been my rock when I needed steadied and my lantern when I needed light. You have personified hope when the way seemed long, and you have laughed and celebrated with me during moments of joy and achievement. You have given me the greatest of gifts – the gift of belonging.
I would like to thank all of the Deacons who joined me in discernment along the way, and I am especially grateful for the Hills Church discernment team who met with me often throughout this process with love and care. These individuals are Mary Hill Canavan, Mark Fraga, Bev St. Clair, Kevin Groppe and Rev. Debbie Thornton. They are bright, thoughtful, supportive and deeply kind. Rev. Judy Swahnberg, who has served as my ministerial advisor, has selflessly given her time, her love, and her prayerful encouragement. I am eternally grateful to Judy for her wisdom, her mentoring, and her friendship.
Finally, I thank all of you for holding Matt and me together in your care as we each focused on different settings of ministry in these past few years. We have felt the full measure of your love.
In the Grace and Peace of Christ,