Dear Stonebridge Family,
I wanted to let you know some news about me and my professional journey. Over the past year, I have been in an intentional period of discernment about ministry, specifically experiencing a call to be more involved in community outreach. Because of this, I enlisted a coach and took a course in non-profit leadership last fall. Earlier this year, I became aware of an opportunity at First UMC Dallas to do community outreach and missions for their church. Because of the way our appointment system works, it was unclear whether this opportunity would become a reality. I have been in conversation with Pastor John who has in turn been working with our Leadership Board on what this potential move would look like for Stonebridge. I received confirmation about this new appointment this week and can now announce that I will be appointed to First UMC Dallas beginning July 1, 2017.
I believe this appointment fulfills the call I have been experiencing and am excited about the way God is leading. Unfortunately, this also means I will be leaving the Stonebridge UMC family. When I first starting exploring this call, I had no idea that so much transition would already be happening in our church. Stonebridge UMC has been such a welcoming home to me and my family at a time we needed it the most. In January 2015, we had just welcomed our youngest son into our home and were on our way to adopting him. You have embraced both of our sons and taught them the stories of Jesus, encouraged them to serve through Mission Kids and Boy Scouts, and cared for our growing faith as a family. Phil and I are incredibly grateful.
Our ministry together has also renewed my faith and hope in the church. We have been through so much change together, and now as a church, we are not only surviving but thriving in the work of the Holy Spirit. I am also so grateful to be a part of a church family that welcomes women clergy and affirms our gifts so openly. Your support, advocacy, and encouragement are unmatched. I also know that the Leadership Board has already been working to adjust the organization chart and more information about this will be shared next week.
I look forward to seeing you on Sunday as we wave palms that give praise and glorify God. I give God praise for you, our Stonebridge family! I am grateful that we will have the opportunity to continue to work together over these next weeks and months to allow space in this time of transition for the Holy Spirit to work in brand new ways. See you Sunday!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Holly G. Bandel