Dear Sunnyside Congregation,
There is something transpiring here at Sunnyside of which you need to be informed. It affects each of you as well as Dorothy and me. So let me cut right to the chase; I will be retiring in October of this year. My last official Sabbath to minister from the Sunnyside pulpit will be October 3.
At that time I will have passed my 66th birthday and will have served over 40 years of employment with this wonderful Adventist church family. Originally the Executive Board of Elders understood that I was targeting a retirement date of April 4, 2016. All of that suddenly changed about two weeks ago when I was standing outside of Rosie’s office and felt the onset of a swirling/dizzy feeling. Shortly thereafter I felt a numb tingling sensation overtaking the left side of my body. It was quickly determined that a visit to the Emergency Department at Adventist Medical Center would be in order. There I was met by Dorothy and Arnold Peterson.
I left Adventist Medical Center late the following afternoon after an MRI confirmed that I had experienced a small stroke. The surprise was that I was not considered a candidate for such an event since I consistently exhibit a good lipid profile, have virtually no other blood abnormalities, and show clean arteries, etc. However, low risk does not mean any risk, and it happened. The only smoking gun that could be suggested was that it was time to slow down, avoid the many hours of work time, and take a step back from the stresses that might be associated with the job. Now, having said that, I want all of you to understand that I don’t feel stressed. Our experience these past five years at Sunnyside has been wonderful. This truly is a wonderful church. We feel so good about, and blessed by, the many things we see happening here. But even fun can be stressful.
As the church elders and I have consulted together, we all desire that Sunnyside be allowed to engage in the search process for a senior pastor as soon as is practical. This course of action should not wait until I am no longer part of Sunnyside’s pastoral staff. In light of this, last night the church board voted to call for a church board/business meeting at 7:00 pm, Wednesday, April 15, for the purpose of selecting a pastoral search committee.
During this time the church will also be actively involved in the search to replace Pastor Shirley Allen. However, it has been previously noted that it is difficult to recruit associate pastors when the perspective candidates do not know with whom they will be working as their senior pastor.
In the meantime, I have been asked to concentrate my remaining months to the Sunnyside pulpit ministry. To facilitate this, the church board has voted to place Pastor Jonathan as the Sunnyside administrative pastor. This means that Pastor Jonathan will be handling the management of the everyday administrative details at Sunnyside. He will be the primary pastoral representative on many of Sunnyside’s committees and church board.
Your continued prayers are needed and appreciated. The outcome of this episode could have been so much worse. With this thought in mind I do not care to have a repeat experience. Therefore the doctors’ orders will be followed. I am recovering, with some lingering numbness in my left arm. But even that is fading day by day. The doctors say that in one to two months all feeling should return. I am of good courage. Sunnyside is such an awesome church with such rich ministries and sense of calling. The desire of all who have been part of this discussion has been that Sunnyside not lose any of its momentum while going through this transition.
With you in Christ,
Pastor Scott LeMert, Senior Pastor
Sunnyside Adventist Church
503-252-8080 • http://www.SunnysideAdventist.org
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