Now, to make an announcement that has been 18 months in the making…
In October of 2013, I received an email from Trinity RPC in Maryland, asking if I would consider candidating, if need be, for the pastoral position vacated by Steve Bradley, their pastor of 13 years who now pastors Providence RPC (South Hills of Pittsburgh, PA) because their pastor, Rev. Rut Etheridge, had been called to Geneva College to serve as the Chaplain, because Dean Smith had retired. As Rev. Bradley exited the premises, he apparently gave a list of names that might be considered, and my name was on it.
Over the course of the next year, there were many phone calls, emails, requests for preaching, and my dragging my feet as much as possible. We wanted to evaluate our ministry in Sterling at the 5 year mark, and use this opportunity to do it. I knew the list of candidates (we are a small family of churches!) and knew they wouldn’t narrow it down to me at any point. We went east for my commencement in May of 2014 (Doctor of Ministry from RPTS), and I preached while passing from Pittsburgh to southern Maryland to see family.
After Synod in June, I was informed there was great interest in having us return. We did so over Thanksgiving. Come December, the elders and congregation were ready to move ahead with an election. They voted unanimously for me on the first ballot.
This has been gut-wrenching. I’ve told so many: “Sterling, the church and town, is not a place you leave lightly. You don’t just decide to up and leave.” One Sterling church member thought I was physically ill the Lord’s Day before I had to give my final decision to our Presbytery. I wasn’t physically ill… well… maybe I was. I was ill enough. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. However, the decision has been made, we’re going to Maryland.
The Sterling elders were informed the last week of January, the congregation the first week of February. We depart June 1. We believe we have found the home we will rent there. We have a buyer for our home here in Sterling, without ever putting the house on the Market, who are a godly couple who will be adding to the Christ-centered community within Sterling, America. We love that.
For those who want to check out the new digs, we will be at Trinity Reformed Presbyterian Church (trinityrpc.org), which has JUST moved into their own building (closing this week) in Burtonsville.
God is good. Soli Deo Gloria! And we look forward to updating you as we roll along in this next adventure.