December 10, 2010

Ethics and Pastoral Change

Mike, my husband, met with the staff/parish committee on Monday evening to tell those gathered that he has decided to retire. Tuesday, he told the staff during their weekly meeting.

Mike will be 63 in January, and has had a sense over the past year, that after 15 years, he has done as much as he can at his current appointment. I trust Mike to know when it is time to move on as throughout the years, he seems to know when he needs another challenge. I have known about this possibility since August, but presenting the news formally has been difficult for me to handle. I do not deal with change easily, especially after fifteen years.

I have known Mike for 38 years, and he has never been without a church in some capacity-- (filling in for vacationing or sick pastors). We have been married for 36 years, so all of our life has been in ministry. Now the delicate part comes: I cannot say anything about this change until Mike's letter (in which he describes what his intentions are for the future) goes to the congregation -- which will probably go out today or tomorrow -- not too long to wait.

However, today I received a call from a staff member who wanted me to know that she was very disappointed that I hadn't called, emailed, or met with her before Mike's announcement. I apologized, but I also realized that her remarks did not ease the grief I am feeling about the change. She wanted to know all about the decision: why he didn't stay until he was 65, why can't he take a church, what is he going to do, etc.

I answered her questions honestly, because he felt that he had done as much as he could, he didn't want to take a church for only 1 1/2 years. That would not be fair to that church, and he doesn't really know what he is going to do.

I was surprised to receive her call, especially the nature of her remarks. I feel certain that there will be more thoughts to share as the weeks progress on this topic of retirement, so stay tuned.

God increase my faith and trust in you for all circumstances of my life. Amen.

Jacquie Reed, Fishers, Indiana


  1. Jacquie, this must also be hard and sad for you too. Thanks for sharing and yes, please let us travel this road with you.

  2. I had a visceral reaction to your comments about the person calling suggesting she expected you to speak with her about this decision before your husband's telling the appropriate groups. I applaud you for keeping the confidence of your husband. He is the minister and no matter how much you are involved in the life of the church, to him goes the responsibility of sharing this information. I will hold you in my prayers as you deal with this transition.