July 16, 2011
It is with a heavy heart that I am resigning as your pastor effective August 14, 2011. This has been a very difficult decision, but I believe, a necessary one. The bottom line is that there is not enough financial support at Trondhjem to support my position. At the January Annual Meeting my resignation was discussed, but the congregation voted to put money back into the budget to maintain my position. Unfortunately, our giving has not improved since then.
When Howard and I accepted our part-time calls to this church it was with the understanding that we would both be fulltime, probably within two years. For most of the time, Howard and I have been 1¼ pastors with Howard being fulltime and my being quarter time. After six years we are no closer to increasing my time and in truth can’t afford even the quarter time.
Please know that I leave this congregation with gratitude for the privilege of serving as your pastor. You enabled Howard and me to serve in ministry together, something we were eager to do, but something that many congregations would not consider. Thank you for that.
I am grateful to our council president, Ryan Phelps, and other members of our council, who truly did not want to take this step. Our council, including Howard and I, has agonized over our financial position, and only came to the need to cut my position as a last resort. We know that you are tired of hearing about our budget deficit. Please understand, though, that my leaving will not close the budget gap in this calendar year. A severance package has been agreed to, according to synod guidelines.
It is my hope that my leaving will make our budget something more reachable than it has been. We have cut all that there is to cut in the budget and still come up short. I have to believe that all of our members want to maintain our building and want at least one pastor. I hope you will be generous in your giving so that Trondhjem can look to better days ahead.
You are a wonderful church family. I appreciate all the love and support you have shown us through the marriages of our daughters, the births of our four grandchildren, the death of my father, the divorce of one daughter. Through it all, your care for our family, and for Howard and me, has been incredible.
I will truly miss serving as your pastor. It is my prayer that God will continue to bless Trondhjem Lutheran Church and each one of you.