Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Life is a journey and along that journey, we meet fellow travelers, all who experience life in many and various ways. Our fellow travelers experience the same or similar hills and valleys, rough roads and potholes of life; however, their response or reaction to those bumps may vary drastically.
I am sure that you are wondering, just what is that all about? Well, it is all about dealing with change, that thing with which Lutherans are reluctant to engage. However, change is the reality of life in this world, whether we like it or not.
Now, there comes a time of change in our lives, collectively and individually, and this is one of those times. This past February 11 I achieved a milestone in my life; I turned seventy years of age, and have out-lived both of my parents. My mother died of cancer at age sixty-five. My father retired on disability at age fifty-eight and died at sixty-seven of a pulmonary arrest. I have an eighty-one-year-old brother who is confined to bed and may not live much longer and an eighty-year-old sister who only leaves her home for medical appointments.
My wife, Betty’s mother died of cancer at the age of seventy-three, fifteen years after her husband, who died of a heart attack at sixty-seven. She had three aging brothers living in Altoona whose health has been declining; her eldest brother, John, had a stroke in October of 2018. During 2019, she made weekly trips to Altoona to take two of her brothers shopping, out to lunch, run errands, and do what ever she could for them. I frequently made trips to Altoona to do small jobs “around the house” of her eldest brother. The weekly trips were wearing on Betty, and in the late summer of 2019, she said to me that she wanted to be back in the Altoona area before her brothers died; well, we buried her eldest brother, John, on December 2, 2019. We did not make it home in time for him!
At present, I am in fairly good health; a bit overweight or “out of shape” (due to a lack of exercise) and fatigued; however, I have no prescribed medication. Betty is five years older than I am and retired, she is also in fairly good health. And unlike our parents, who could not enjoy a “retired” life together due to health issues, I desire to share our, Betty’s and mine, remaining years together, enjoying a retired life while we are still physically, mentally, and emotionally able.
The decision to “retire” is something that I have been pondering over the past couple of years, as Betty has been asking me to retire. In addition, I am tired—physically, mentally, and emotionally. Moreover, it is time that I dedicate much more of my time to my wife, Betty, and family who have trailed behind church and congregation throughout my ministry. In addition, worship attendance and member involvement has been declining; I believe that now is the time for new younger leadership.
Therefore, I hereby give notice that I will be officially retiring as of September 30, 2020.
I pray God’s blessings upon the Bethany Church family.
In Christ’s service,