May 4, 2009
Dear Brothers and Sisters –
As my last days with you were approaching these past few weeks, many of you have asked me how I was feeling. Each time, all I could say was: "Many things" or "It's hard to put into words."
Well, after the wondrous times of celebration with so many of you these past several days, two new responses have stirred within me: "I am very grateful." "I am excited."
I am grateful more than I can express for the opportunity these past 2½ years to have served as your interim pastor. I am grateful for the ways that together we have continued the vision of this church's ministry framed by Dr. Paul Smith and others before him. I am grateful for the tremendous expressions of love and challenge you have extended to me throughout my tenure in ways that have strengthened me as a minister and as a person.
I am deeply excited about you. Your incredible courage, passion, commitment, willingness to be honest even when it is uncomfortable, and readiness to love when it is challenging that I see deepening has given me great joy and excitement as I envision what you will continue to do together. I am confident that you will be reaching people who need to see, hear, and know God through you. Brooklyn Heights and beyond are blessed because of how you witness God's love. Your commitment of time, talent and finance is vital to the outreach of this witness.
Rev. Beth Waltemath, Clerk of Session Marcia Smith, and Minister of Music Amy Neuner, Sexton Ernie Salvi, and Church Administrator Annie Solages have been wonderful colleagues in ministry. And I know that they will continue to serve as great leaders along with incoming Clerk of Session Edna Asknes, Session, and each of you.
Special thanks to Patty Watwood for donating her time and talent to paint such an amazing portrait of me. I am humbled by the invitation for this portrait done and by the excellence of Patty's artistic skill. Thanks to each of you for your wondrous expressions of love and for your prayers. Your generosity of spirit goes with me.
Several things will be happening simultaneously during the next few months: (1) Rev. Beth and the Session will be working with the NYC Presbytery to secure a temporary pastor for the next phase of the interim period, (2) the Mission Review Committee will lead the congregation in finetuning the congregational vision of the pastoral leadership that best matches this congregation, and (3) the Church-Wide Nominating Committee will be requesting members to serve on a new Pastoral Nominating Committee. Shortly, you will hear more about each of these next steps from Rev. Beth and the various committees involved.
As I proceed to a new opportunity that God has given me to serve, and I am confident that the Stamford congregation and I will also do great ministry together. Any insight, compassion, and leadership that I bring to First Congregational Church of Stamford are strengthened by my experiences with you.
I will always hold you in my heart and in my prayers,
Rev. Dr. Cari Jackson
First Congregational Church
1 Walton Place
Stamford, CT 06901
When we enjoy the delight and the adventure of life's travels, when we…relish the vistas of new truth, there is a new country waiting for us. There are new melodies that yearn to be sung in our spirits…The season of springtime, of hello, awaits us all. (Joyce Rupp. Praying Our Goodbyes: Understanding the Spirituality of Change in Our Lives. New York: Ivy Books, 1988, p109.)