It is with a very full heart that I am writing to let you know that I’ll be concluding my ministry at WellSprings at the end of this congregational year, June 30th, 2022. This decision is much more a retiring than a resigning, as it is not my wish or intention to serve another congregation as their minister. I’ve served UU spiritual communities since I was 27, and as I approach 52, I know that my time as a congregational clergyperson is coming to a close. Being a minister of WellSprings has been the singular, unparalleled joy and privilege of my professional life, and it is fitting that I end my active congregation-focused ministry serving you.
There is nothing that has gone wrong or awry that prompts my decision. It is simply time. Time for me to focus on just having one job, as a mental health professional. My father’s death this past November only further confirmed this for me. A different season of my life is emerging, and it is one in which I am yearning for more open space.
I have loved serving WellSprings, even before this congregation had a name. When I was hired in 2005 by the denomination to plant and launch a UU spiritual community from scratch in Chester County, I had dreams and aspirations for what this brand-new life might become. The last 17 years have surpassed what I could have possibly foreseen back then. I cannot thank you individually or WellSprings collectively enough for the life-giving, life-transforming gift of this ministry.
I have so many different, varied emotions as I prepare for the conclusion of my time as your minister. It makes sense that this is so. We lived through and shared so many joys, challenges, successes, heartbreaks, and celebrations together. I imagine that as my news reaches you, that you also are having a mixture of feelings and thoughts. My hope and intention for the next six months is that we can practice a “good ending”, a chance to reflect on and to hopefully celebrate what our time together has meant, and to make space for and honor the emotions and experiences that are arising for us all.
Accompanying my letter is also one from the Board of Trustees and Rev. Lee. It addresses some of what will happen in the time before and after June 30th. They are here to help lead and guide us through this time.
For me, for now, there is the desire to be present with you. Closings can also be openings to deeper insight and connection. I hope that the end of my ministry with you can be such a time for us.
May you live in blessing,
With deep and wholehearted gratitude for his service as our Founding Minister, we the Board, along with Rev. Lee, honor the 17 years Rev. Ken has spent seeding, planting, birthing, and growing this community we love and support. We share his intention for a “good ending” to his ministry, and in the months ahead, aim to create the conditions for it, including many opportunities for our congregation to join in reflection and celebration of his time with us.
The first of these opportunities will be this Sunday, January 9, at 12:30 pm, when members of the Board, Rev. Ken, and Rev. Lee will be hosting an online session over Zoom to hear your thoughts and answer your questions about this transition. All are welcome. The Zoom link for the meeting is here.
Members of the Board will also be hosting additional online listening sessions over the next few weeks for congregants to share feedback and ask questions. The dates and times are:
- January 13 – 7 pm-8 pm (RSVP here)
- January 18 – 7 pm-8 pm (RSVP here)
- January 23 – 3 pm-4 pm (RSVP here)
- January 26 – 7 pm-8 pm (RSVP here)
Ordinarily, a ministerial transition triggers a process to hire a new minister. However, because Rev. Ken currently has a 20% schedule, with preaching being his primary role, we plan to take some time to evaluate WellSprings current staffing needs and financial resources and determine how to best support Rev. Lee in her Executive Minister role going forward.
In the months to come, there will be many other opportunities for us to reflect and celebrate. One that we want to highlight is our plan to ask for a congregational vote to confer Minister Emeritus status upon Rev. Ken at our annual congregational meeting this spring. The title Minister Emeritus is granted to honor long and meritorious service to a congregation where the minister has given devoted and competent ministerial leadership.
If you wish to speak one-on-one with Rev. Ken, please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will honor all requests but asks your patience with scheduling as he continues to both serve WellSprings part-time and to maintain a full schedule in his clinical practice. And as always, please reach out to Rev. Lee at email@example.com, the board at firstname.lastname@example.org, or any of us individually through Realm with any feedback, questions or concerns.
Rev. Lee and Your Board of Trustees (Bill Cabin, Chris Chepel, Julie Choi, Chris Groppe, Tonie Scullion, and Tiffany Shoffner)