Even when the opportunity before you is grand, it is hard to leave a place you love.
Today is my last day at the Council of Churches, after 16 years in a variety of roles from very part-time newsletter editor to full-time deputy executive director. As some of you have heard me say, when I started here, my colleagues scheduled staff meetings so that I could pick up my youngest from preschool. He is about to start his sophomore year of college, so yes, it has been awhile.
I am leaving to become the Executive Director of the Johnson Service Corps, an affiliate of the Episcopal Service Corps. I am excited and grateful for the opportunity. As important as the policy work and grassroots advocacy are – particularly in these days – it is also important to be developing ethical, thoughtful young people whose commitment to justice and to servant leadership will move us closer to the Beloved Community.
In order to take on that role, however, I have to leave this one, step away from work that has always been more than a job and from colleagues who have been more like family. My time at the Council has formed me, personally, professionally, and spiritually as much as any congregation could. The folks like you who visit our website, use our resources, come to our events, and drop us notes, have fed me with spiritual food and, when the moment called for it, righteous anger.
It has been hard since November not to let that anger become consuming at times. But I have been continually reminded of the words and work of the prophets and the saints – those who have gone on and those who walk among us. I have been inspired by the people at our partner organizations who work and work and get up and work some more, all because they believe we can be better than where we are at that given moment. They are fundamentally pragmatic and inexplicably optimistic, and it has helped me keep on keeping on.
On a day-to-day basis, I have been fortunate beyond reason to stand shoulder to shoulder with Council staff members and volunteers who work harder and believe stronger than I would have thought imaginable. They have made even bad days good and they have made good days better. I cannot say enough about their expertise and commitment. It has been an honor to work with them.
And so friends, I pray you peace as we continue this shared work.