Dear Church Family,
It was on Pentecost Sunday in 2010 that Christen and I joined you for worship for the first time. As we wandered into the sanctuary that first time, doves suspended throughout the sanctuary came into view. When we looked closer, we found on each dove the testimony of a church member. Samuel Lian’s was the first one we read. I turned my head and in the center of the sanctuary, suspended and cascading down, was a great column of orange and red fabric. I stopped in my tracks and remember whispering to myself, “Wow. These people know how to worship!”
When we gather in the sanctuary and lead each other in word and song, we offer up our very best to God. We do these things, because in worship we find our being in God so that we might find our doing in the world. It is the center of all that we do as God’s people. We gather and we lift up, because God is eager to gather with us and to pull us together into a diverse, beautiful, and sometimes messy community.
For nearly five years now, I have been taking part in these sacred acts with you. I have been with you in worship and in ministry. I have been with you in clothes closets and in house blessings. I have been allowed to hold your newborn children and also your own hands in prayer before turning you over to your surgeon’s care. I have broken bread with you and shared your dining room tables with you. I have found myself up into the waking dawn with you on my mind and I have slept like a carefree child, knowing that sunrise brought with it the opportunity to be with you in worship. I have been with you.
You have let me tread the sacred ground of your lives, but what you may not hear often enough is that you have tread the sacred ground of my life, too. No life follows even the best well-laid plans or happens according to expectation, and that has been doubly true for Christen and I these past few years. We have become acutely acquainted with loss and grief. But no matter how dark it became in the noontime of our lives, you were present with us and your presence has been a balm in the tender places of our lives.
No word lives up to what we feel about the time we’ve shared with you or how we feel about you, our lovely and deeply-loved church family. We have been with you. And from my first internship on, you have raised me right, Tabernacle Baptist Church. You have provided more than mere opportunity. You have given me your trust and your guiding hand, and, in so doing, you have equipped me with the skills needed to make the next step.
Now it is time.
I have officially accepted the call to serve as Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church, Colorado Springs, and while my time as your Associate Pastor officially concludes on December 31, I will be with you in worship one last time as we gather to celebrate Epiphany on January 4.
While I am eager to get there and to get busy with this new thing God has placed on my horizon, it is with difficulty that I leave you. I will miss you, and deeply so. But I also cannot help but believe that God is up to something grand here in our midst. The story of the Church has always been one of raising up the Saints and then sending them out to continue the work. Today, you are once again playing your part in that grand story of God’s love and faithfulness. You have raised me up. You have equipped me. Now, it is time that you send me.
So I go, gratefully bearing the strong imprint of Tabernacle Baptist Church in both my life and ministry.
As always — I leave you with all my best,
Rev. Dan Schumacher