To My Dear South Main Family,
Guided as we believe by the Holy Spirit through a process of listening and discernment, Carmen and Alex and Sam and I have accepted the call for me to be the next Pastor of Seventh and James Baptist Church in Waco, TX. There are so many things churning within us about this decision: humble enthusiasm about this next step, plenty of trepidation about the new role and responsibilities, deep pain about being three hours away from you and about leaving this church family and my privileged position of walking with you through so many sacred spaces; but beneath the roller coaster of emotions there is an overwhelming sense of peace that this is exactly what God is calling us to do. We have been completely embraced by the people at Seventh and have felt and continue to feel their joy and excitement about our days to come.
The timing seems to be way off, I’m telling you this on the first Sunday after our pastor is gone on a much deserved and now I think very timely sabbatical. Steve has been a part of this journey the entire way through. He and I have talked this to death, prayed about it a lot, and he has been a wonderful encourager and given me his blessing at every step along the way. We have worked so closely together these past eight years and have provided real balance to one another-it’s hard for me to imagine doing ministry without him and I know I will stagger around some while I get my bearings as we both learn to do this in different places. All along we have talked with you about our Sabbatical plan, and that will not change-we still have a strong pastoral team in place to serve with you through Steve’s time away, and that will include me for most of that journey. Our last Sunday here will be July 17th, so we have plenty of time to walk this season of transition in our journey in ministry together.
And I want you to hear me say, in no way could I go there if I had not been here.
This is the place where I learned so much of what I know about being a minister;
This is the place where nine years ago, you took a chance and called a dirt salesman to help out in the college ministry and our love affair began;
This is the place where we learned what it means to serve a church family with all that we are and to be loved in return in ways we could not have imagined;
This is the place where we began the wonderful and terrifying journey of parenthood and you walked this path with us every step of the way;
This is the place where I learned what it is to be a part of a team in ministry and to see the wonder of God using our different gifts and talents to do far more with us together than we could ever do apart;
This is the place where my missional heart has exploded trying to keep up with how fast and how far God’s love is flowing out to our neighbors here and around the world;
This is the place where my heart has heard your stories and held them close-in agony and celebration you have allowed me to sit with you and pray with you and hear you and I will forever be blessed because of that great privilege;
This is the place I will always cherish and you will be a part of us wherever we go. Thank you, thank you, thank you from our hearts that are overflowing with your blessing and your love.
Grace & Truth,
Erin, Carmen, Alex & Sam Conaway