Thanks! And yes!

Rev. Jim Carr has been a beloved pastor at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church during two separate tenures on the church staff—once two or so decades ago, and again in more recent years, after retirement from active ministry, during which Jim has served part-time as minister of pastoral care. In that capacity he has provided care and comfort, encouragement and spiritual guidance to many, many individuals and families in times of need, crisis, or grief. Jim spent much of his ministry as a chaplain in the Methodist Hospital system in San Antonio. Such a role requires the ability to be present to another in ways that quietly convey assurance that God is near. If you know Jim, then you have experienced that in his company.

After an extensive period of discernment, Jim has decided to leave his formal role on the church staff in order to explore other vocational paths that are presenting themselves at this stage in his life. While he is leaving the church staff, Jim will continue to share in our life together in other expressions of worship, study, and friendship. Jim will complete his tenure at the end of May, and in a gathering later in the month we will have an opportunity to express our gratitude to him for his exceptional ministry among us.

Laura Healy, a Laurel Heights member for many years, has served on the church staff in program ministries for nearly two years, with a focus in children and family ministries. During that time she has sensed a deeper, broader calling, one that extends into more pastoral areas of ministry. With the encouragement and blessing of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee (SPRC), she is participating in a process that will lead to licensing as a local pastor, possibly by this time next year. This status will allow Laura to fulfill pastoral roles more formally in the Laurel Heights congregation. Meanwhile, the SPRC has asked her to extend the scope and hours of her ministry beginning in June to include some of the roles Jim will be relinquishing.

I know you will join me in the coming days in expressing with notes, calls, emails, and visits both gratitude to Jim and welcome to Laura. How privileged a church family is when we can share in the life passages of those who lead us, bearing witness to all the goodness, all the promise such moments reveal. Dag Hammarskjöld gives us the prayer for such a threshold crossing: For all that has been, thanks! To all that will be, yes!

Grace and peace.