Monday, April 16, 2007

We're Moving...

...from the birthplace of the late Kurt Vonnegut to the birthplace of the late President Gerald Ford. You can read my wife's terrific description here. What follows is a modified version of the letter we sent out to our friends here at Hope Covenant Church. We appreciate the prayers of many of you who knew of our quandry before today. This was a tough decision, but we definitely sense God's peace about it now. Some adjustments to this letter were made for the protection of the innocent.


Beloved friends,

When we moved here to Indianapolis on July 28, 2005, we thought we would be here for a one year internship, an integral piece of my studies at North Park Theological Seminary. Thankfully, we had the joyous opportunity to extend our time here another year, affording us the privilege of building stronger friendships with many of you and getting involved in more areas of ministry than we would have dreamed.
After weeks of wrestling through our options for August 2007 and beyond, we have determined that in order to continue my seminary education we will no longer be able to serve at Hope Covenant Church.
I must for a variety of reasons go back to seminary full-time this fall. North Park has graciously allowed us to stay here for two years, but at this point, a move is inevitable for us.
In considering our options, we tried to figure out a way to stay here and go back to seminary full-time, but nothing we came up with seemed like a healthy option for us or for the church. As a full-time student, commuting to Chicago three days a week, half-time pastor here and full-time husband and father, I would not be able to give my best to all three. In fact, in trying to give myself to all three, I would have to fail in one area, and that is not something I am willing to do. Being a full-time student and investing in my family are non-negotiables, and in order to do those things well, we were forced to move in another direction.
After our final Sunday at Hope on August 5, we will be moving to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. As some of you know, this is where Marcie is from, and basically her entire immediate and extended family lives in the area. This will allow Marcie to go back to work full-time, while having the support system to place Addison into trusted and reliable care during the days that I am in Chicago at school. Though the commute to Chicago is almost as far as from Indy, this option will free me from having to work, giving me the ability to focus entirely on schoolwork and family.
We cannot overstate how difficult this decision has been to make. Every time we look at your faces we see dear friends who have journeyed with us through these past two vital years. We have felt loved and supported amid joyful and difficult times. We have received encouraging words and have felt free to be ourselves in ministering to you and your children. The ministry experience I have received here is truly rare, and I thank you for your patience in letting me try new things and figure out how to do ministry. Looking back, Addison may not remember a lot about the first year of her life, but we will with joy be able to tell her stories of the great people who wrapped their arms around her and us…you.
God has been continually faithful to Hope Covenant Church for over 25 years, and will continue to be faithful after our departure. Though it is hard for us to leave, we know that He is in control and will provide for all your needs. We are humbled to have made any impact on your lives, and we pray for God to continue to guide you into his love, truth, justice and grace.

Blessings,

Andrew, Marcie and Addison Gates

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3 Comments:

At 2:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just looked again the other night at My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Somehow, your move reminds me of that. Best wishes on your decision. Your mother said that you can take AMTRAK. Better than driving the snowbend by yourself. I continue to lose weight and have not heard from Mayos as yet. I brought a fruit basket and Fannie Mae candy out to the two nurses that I like at the clinic yesterday. I have always liked to do surprising things like that. Grandpa Schedvin used to put money in his hand and grasp anothers to give them money on the sly. I always told Dick Nyquist how I remember his parents generous and smiling nature. (bringing apples, baked goods, meats to the house, etc. and, of course, her famous chocolate cake for Rita and I on our birthdays) I keep the following saying on my desk: " No act of kinddness, no matter how small, is every wasted." I've always enjoyed giving even when I could not afford it. Sadly, I had to say no now to my morning golf foursome today in which I have played for so many years. I am the last of the originals to go. I told them that I might sub if I can get straightened out a little. I am also going to try to golf with Tom and Nick a little in the afternoons when possible. I am going to have to get clothes now as nothing fits me. I am sure that Connie is elated to have her daughter and grandchild near her now. Take care.

Love.

Uncle Bryce

 
At 5:54 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bryce let me read your blog since I can't get to it at work. Very sincere letter to your congregation. I know it was hard for you to make the final decision. Love, Mommy

 
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