Want to Sign Alex’s Petition to Bring In-and-Out to….Montana?

Matt taught me long ago that the best way to say something hard is to just start out and say it.  After that, you can tell the back story.

So…..we’re moving.

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Quick Facts:

Who:  Matt, Myself, Alex, Drew and Sally (she’s is already anxiously pacing in anticipation)

What:  Moving to begin a new job for Matt as Senior Pastor of First Presbyterian Corvallis

Where:  Corvallis, Oregon.  Home of Oregon State University—go, Beavers!

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When:  Mid-July-ish

Why:  Well….many reasons wrapped up in a lot of bittersweet emotions.

How:  Seriously, this is ONLY happening with a lot of help from God, family & friends

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My spiritual director asked me to spend some time writing about that “WHY” piece I skirted around up above.  She reminded me that I was going to need a few things written “in stone” about why we are transitioning…..because friends, it’s GOING TO BE HARD.  And when times inevitably get hard, I will need to remember the way we felt God moving and guiding in this process.  I have mentioned the word “bittersweet” here many times (often in connection with Shauna Niequist’s book by the same name).  Or “Good, But Hard”, the apt name of my friend Susannah’s blog.  As Susannah says, “Sometimes life is good.  Sometimes hard.  Most of the time, it’s a little of both.”  And that so aptly sums up this transition we face.

We have been deeply blessed by our time in Sunnyvale.  I began writing this blog when we moved and during the same time I transitioned to being a stay-at-home mom with two children.  It has chronicled the way our life has ebbed and flowed over the last 2 1/2 years.  Times of challenge.  Times of growth.  Times of deep joy. And incredible times of community and friendship.  I have seen my boys gain friendship bonds I never thought imaginable.  There have already been many tears from our eldest after hearing the news.  I see myself in him—-eager and wanting to latch onto the fun of “adventure looming ahead”, but pulled back by physical pain over leaving friends & family we love so dearly and connections we rely on daily.

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Corvallis is a new area for us, but one we immediately fell in love with on our visits.  {in case you are clueless like I was, Corvallis is smack dab between Salem and Eugene about 10 miles from I-5}.  Our love for farm fresh produce and winery tours and tastings will be fed with more than we can manage.  Former trips in past summers to the Oregon Coast will be revisited.  We hope to get out on our bikes and explore, along with chances to hike and enjoy the beauty of the area.  And as scary as reforming community can and will be, we know that we have each other and that it will be a joy to get to know our new church family at First Presbyterian Corvallis.

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Steve, our current head pastor at Sunnyvale, and a dear friend and mentor to Matt, wrote a letter to the congregation tonight and it encapsulates the situation so well, so I will share it below to close.  Before I do, though, I want to remind you of what I told all parents at Back to School Night each year, “Believe 1/2 of what you hear about me, and I’ll believe 1/2 of what I hear about you.”  Case in point—–Matt shared the news of the move with Alex yesterday.  During sharing time, Alex told his class that he was moving to Montana for the summer and that there was no In-and-Out Burger, so he encouraged the kids to sign a petition to “Bring In-and-Out to Montana!”  And there you have it, the easy way which misunderstanding and miscommunication can so quickly and innocently happen.   So please, if you have questions, ask!  We may not know the answers, but at least Matt and I know we are going to OREGON, not Montana, and we will be reining in our son’s business-like fervor for bringing In-and-Out to….Montana…or Oregon.

In all seriousness, we are immensely grateful for your love and support in the past and will count on the same, along with your prayers as we venture forth into this next chapter, adventure and continuing journey together.

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Dear Friends,

 The one constant we can count on is change. In the life of faith we can add to that predictability the faithfulness of God. Though I am away on sabbatical, and penned this while studying in Turkey about the changing church over the years and the steadfast love of God down through the centuries, I want to let you know about a change in the life of our church and assure you of the ongoing health of our ministry.

 Matt Gough, our Associate Pastor for Youth and Families (as well as some other areas) has let me know that he will be leaving our church mid-July to take a new call as the Senior Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Corvallis, Oregon. In his letter of resignation Matt said this about his time with our church:

 I will depart with a glad and full heart, but also with sadness as I will miss the hospitable people of Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church. This church has left a deep and positive imprint that I will carry with me. Thank you for being a church rooted in Jesus Christ-the One Who meets us where we are and Who sends us out into the world to be Good News.

 We will miss Matt and are thankful for his ministry among us. Session has called a congregational meeting to be held on June 16 at 11 am so that we as a congregation might (reluctantly) concur with Matt’s request that the Presbytery dissolve the pastoral relationship between Matt and our church effective July 15. We will have a time to say goodbye to Matt, Christine, Alex, and Drew on July 14 following our 10 am and 5 pm services.

 This call for Matt actually culminates a discernment process that he initiated with me last year and which has involved several of our leadership folk. As such we have had time to support him in this process and to plan how we will carry on ministry without any great hindrance or lapse.

 We are sad to see Matt go, but thankful that the gifts he honed here will be used in Corvallis to carry on Christ’s ministry in that place. Thank you, Matt, and God bless!

 Grace and peace,

Steve

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