April 26, 2020
Dear Beloved Disciples:
Grace and peace to you from God, the Earth-maker, Pain-bearer, and Life-giver. I give thanks daily for you all. You have been faithful in your discipleship in our time apart, these past few weeks. Some of you have been faithful in your discipleship in this congregation for much longer – and have seen the ups and downs of a communal journey of faith. Your steadfast love for one another gives me much hope.
We have grown, cried, laughed, and sat with one another in faith these last seven years. We’ve learned much about ourselves and one another. I have felt for a long while, and have prayed extensively about this, that I do not have the skills that you need for the next part of the journey for Shepherd of the Hills. I know that you all have so much to offer the community and vice versa.
I am resigning my call as Pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church effective June 14, 2020. My last Sunday with you will be May 31, 2020. I will take the last two weeks as vacation in preparation for where I am now called, which is to Lutheran Campus Ministry in St. Louis, Missouri.
This decision was never going to be easy to share with you. I learned and loved with you all in our time together. I knew before the COVID 19 pandemic quarantine that I would be moving forward and away in ministry. It is even harder now that we find ourselves deployed for the health of our community and world. Please know that I will be working with the church council to ensure a smooth transition in unknown times.
So why St. Louis? I feel the Spirit’s push and work in this. I am headed back to the Midwest, to be closer to my family. My parents, while still in good health, are aging and I want to be able to visit & support them with greater ease. I am also looking forward to a new partnership with churches and universities in the St. Louis area as we work together to be the Good News for the students of Washington & St. Louis Universities. I look forward to the opportunities to engage in interfaith cooperation and community building with the undergraduate and graduate students.
I pray that in our time together, we are able to give thanks with each other for our time with one another. You welcomed me into your homes and hearts. I never take that honor or privilege for granted. We have changed each other for the Good News, and that is indeed a blessing. I know you all will work together as God’s beloved to be God’s hands and feet to Sparta, Lake Hopatcong, Newton, and beyond.
The Rev. Kristina L. L. Reyes