After eight wonderful years as the Associate Pastor of Southminster Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, Kansas, today I have news to share: the good folk of the John Knox Presbyterian Kirk in Kansas City, Missouri, have asked me to be their next Pastor. Pending confirmation of the call by the presbytery, I’ll begin my work there on October 1.
The Kirk, as they are often called, is about 20 minutes away from Southminster: a fellow congregation in Heartland Presbytery working to share God’s abundant love on the south side of Kansas City. This is an exciting opportunity for me to share in ministry with a new church as a Lead Pastor, while our family will be able to stay in Prairie Village, the kids will remain in their current school, and I will be able to continue to work with my colleagues and friends in Heartland Presbytery and in the wider church.
This is bittersweet for us, since I have been nurtured and supported in our common work at Southminster for years. I will greatly miss all you at Southminster and the work that we shared. Even so, I know that God continues to spark vibrant and exciting ministry at Southminster. I look forward to watching Southminster grow from my new position at the Kirk.
On Monday we mailed this letter to my friends at Southminster:
August 12, 2013
Dear Friends and Members of Southminster,
It is with bittersweet feelings of joy and sadness that I write this letter. On the morning of Sunday, August 11, the congregation of John Knox Kirk in Kansas City, Missouri, elected me to serve as their Pastor/Head of Staff. Pending approval by Heartland Presbytery, my work will begin there at the beginning of October.
I have requested that the session call a congregational meeting to dissolve my pastoral relationship, effective in September. Heartland Presbytery is aware of my call to John Knox Kirk and is ready to assist the church during this transition. Pastor Jeff, the session, and the church committees I work most closely with will be developing plans to support Christian Education, Family Life, the Youth Group, young adult ministries, and other areas of our common work after my departure.
Over the next few weeks, there will be ample opportunities for us to say our goodbyes. The past eight years have been incredibly rewarding for me personally, spiritually, and professionally. I am deeply grateful and humbled by my tenure at Southminster. You have challenged me, loved me, supported me, and listened to me. You surrounded Brook and Me with love at the arrival of Nora and Tessa. You have helped me grow as a pastor and in my faith. Thank you all, so very much, for your love shared with me in Christ.
The proximity of John Knox Kirk will keep my family in the Prairie Village community, but please know that I will need to step away from all pastoral work at Southminster, so that future staff you hire can lead you in new directions. The Presbytery offers guidelines for departing pastors through a covenant of closure, asking us to clearly step away from pastoral roles at our former congregations, as we both move forward on the paths God lays before us.
Serving as your Associate Pastor has been an honor and a privilege. I thank God for the opportunity to serve among you, and I am confident that God will continue to abide among the Southminster faithful, as you continue to be a church where all are welcome to experience God’s grace and love.
Peace and joy,
Chad Andrew Herring
Southminster Presbyterian Church
A deep word of gratitude to all at Southminster for your love and friendship over the past several years. A particular word of appreciation for Southminster’s pastor, Jeff Clayton, who has been a wonderful head of staff and teacher for many years. And a word of thanks to all my friends and mentors and colleagues for your ongoing support and encouragement and wisdom. My prayer is that God will continue to enliven all of us, that God’s love may be magnified and shared with all God’s creation.
Peace and joy,