Dear church family,
Two important announcements were made by the Committee on Staff-Pastor Parish Relations during recent Sunday services. The first one announced that Rev. Ginger Gaines-Cirelli’s ministry at CHUMC will end at the end of June. The second announcement, made the following Sunday, announced that Bishop Schol has appointed Rev. Alisa Lasater to CHUMC. Reverend Alisa will begin her responsibilities as our new pastor and spiritual leader on July 1.
The SPPRC Committee wanted to take the time to share with you the text of these two announcements. They are printed below. After reading the announcements, if you have any questions or would like to help coordinate this important departure and this important arrival, please contact Kirsten Gullickson (chair, SPPRC), Trista Soendker-Nicholson (Lay leader), or Abbey Levenshus (chair, church council).
Sincerely, The Committee on SPPRC
Kirsten Gullickson (chair), Tres Bailey, Anne Bowman, Judy Body, Doug Dougherty, Rob Farley, Eleanor Jensen, David Kennedy, and Trista Soendker-Nicholson.
Text of the April 13 Announcement
“Good morning, my name is Kirsten Gullickson and I am the chair of the Committee on Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee. The folks standing with me are the members of the Committee. Today, we have an important announcement to make – a bittersweet announcement. The Committee learned yesterday that Pastor Ginger’s husband, Anthony Gaines-Cirelli has been offered and has accepted a tenured faculty position at St. John’s University in New York City.
“Congratulations, Anthony. We are very proud of you and celebrate this with you!
“That was the sweet part of the announcement. Now, for the bitter part. Pastor Ginger will be moving to New York City with Anthony and her ministry here at CHUMC will end at the end of June.
“As it is stated on the cover of the bulletin, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”. God calls and his faithful disciples follow. Ginger and Anthony are responding to that call. And we as a congregation will respond as well, by saying goodbye well. We will use the coming weeks – now through the end of June -- to celebrate and honor Ginger’s ministry here. We will have the conversations, the rituals, and the celebrations that will allow Ginger and Anthony to leave our family -- our community -- with the joy and freedom to go and spread God’s gospel to others. As a Committee member stated yesterday, “We are being called to share Ginger and Anthony’s gifts with the larger, communal church”. Saying good-bye will be difficult, but we can trust that God is at work in all of our lives and here at CHUMC.
“Yesterday, the Committee met with District Superintendent David Argo. Not only were we told of Ginger’s departure, we were also told that the Bishop and his cabinet will be meeting and will be appointing a new pastor to CHUMC. This new pastor will start the first of July.
“There are unknown details at this time, but specifics will be forthcoming. This news is also being announced at our sister church, Ebenezer UMC this morning. If you have any questions, please talk to myself or one of the members of the Committee. We will be available after service.”
Following this announcement, a prayer was offered.
O God, our Shepherd, We thank you and praise you for your presence here today. Help us to stay open to your guidance and to trust that you want what is best for us.
Lord, we know you have been at work. You have called Ginger and Anthony to go to a new place in your Kin-dom. May you be with both of them during this time of transition.
Lord, we are grateful for Pastor Ginger. She is a beloved member of this community. She has guided us and helped us become the church we are today. Lead us in this time of saying good-bye. May we say good-bye well.
We ask that you give our church leaders, our staff, and our congregation…and Anthony and Ginger…the wisdom, the courage, and the energy that will be needed to move us through this important time.
We also pray for the Bishop and his cabinet as they look for a new pastor for CHUMC. Help them make an appointment choice that will be life giving for us and for your people.
Lord, renew in us a deep trust in you. Calm our anxiousness. As we reflect upon our lives, help us to realize that you have been present in all of our leavings and in all of our comings. Let us place our lives in your hands. May all of this bring us closer to you and closer to one another. Let us trust in you that all things do work together.
Text of the April 20 Announcement
“Good morning, my name is Kirsten Gullickson and I am the chair of the Committee on Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee. As you may know, last week the Committee and I made the important and bittersweet announcement that Ginger and her husband, Anthony are moving to New York City, and Ginger’s ministry at CHUMC will end at the end of June.
“At the time of last week’s announcement, we did not know who our new pastor would be. However, I can say with joy today that the Bishop and the Cabinet have appointed Reverend Alisa Lasater to Capitol Hill United Methodist Church. Reverend Alisa will begin her responsibilities as our new pastor and spiritual leader on July 1.
“The members of the SPPRC were able to meet and visit with Reverend Lasater on Tuesday evening. The meeting was very good. Pastor Alisa is currently serving as the associate pastor at Myers Park UMC in Charlotte, North Carolina. Myers Park UMC is a traditional yet progressive congregation of 5,000 members. Pastor Alisa is a graduate of Duke Divinity School and her hometown is Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“Besides serving in her current position, she has served at Rising Hope United Methodist Mission Church in Northern Virginia and at Center UMC in Albuquerque, NM. She has experience working with young adults; and experience working across class and race lines to bring healing and authentic reconciliation. She is well-equipped, energetic, and will be ready to join our journey on July 1 as we continue to learn what it means to "Be the Heart of God in the Community".
“I ask that we all keep Pastor Alisa and the congregation of Myers Park UMC in our prayers. Like us, they will have the conversations and celebrations that will allow Pastor Alisa to leave their community with joy and freedom.
“After the whirl-wind of the last week, it is clear to me that God is at work in our lives, and I continue to trust God.
“The SPPRC Committee will be meeting on Tuesday. We will start planning for events that will celebrate Pastor Ginger’s ministry with us. Some specific details should be available shortly after that meeting. We will communicate all of the happenings on the web site, via email and by postal mail.
"If you have any questions or want to share any ideas, please speak with myself, Abbey, our council chair, Trista, our Lay Leader or any member of the SPPR Committee.
“This announcement and last week’s will be posted on our web site. In addition, the announcement that Pastor Elisa has been appointed to CHUMC will be posted on the conference’s web site.”
Following this announcement, a prayer was offered.
O God, our Shepherd, hear this pray.
Today, we pray for all churches, pastors, pastor’s families, and congregations going through transition. Help each one stay open to your guidance and to trust in you.
Today, we pray specifically for two pastors – Pastor Ginger and Pastor Alisa. To each, give wisdom on what is most important to do in the coming weeks. May you guard them against the false sense of urgency. To each, give them health and energy. May you comfort them as they encounter days filled with the mixed emotions of excitement, sadness, joy, and grief about their individual departures and arrivals.
To each, renew their sense of calling. For you, O God, have called Pastor Ginger and Pastor Alisa to stand-out as ordained clergy. Let them remember who they are and whose they are -- for they are yours alone, O God. You are their rock and salvation.
O God, we pray for our two congregations -- Myers Park and Capitol Hill. May both congregations say good-bye well and welcome well. Provide to both churches the wisdom, the courage, and the energy to move through this time.
O God, we thank you for the Bishop Schol and the Cabinet and the work they do. We thank you for District Superintendent David Argo and his gifts to this process. May the appointment of Pastor Alisa be life-giving.
Lord, as we prayed last week, renew in us a deep trust in you. Continue to help us to realize that you have been present in all of our leavings and in all of our comings. Let us place our lives in your hands. May all of this bring us closer to you, closer to one another, and bring glory to your Kin-dom.