No Judgments, Just Jesus

The Path Ahead

Dear Members and Friends of Immanuel UCC,

By now you’ve certainly heard about the passing of our beloved Terri Tybring. If you have not, then it is with a heavy heart that I pass on this news to you. Terri was a faithful minister to so many. She will be greatly missed by us all.

It is in light of my deep awareness of Terri’s great impact and pervasive influence on the life of our congregation that I write this pastoral letter to you all.

Every person handles crises differently. Every person grieves at a different pace and for different reasons. Since no one of us can know the heart of another, I urge you all to be kind, forbearing, and patient with one another during this difficult time.

Some – the fixer-uppers among us – will be tempted to fashion a quick fix to our present challenges. I am not one of those people. Terri cannot be “replaced” (nor can anyone for that matter). The loss of her unique combination of gifts will – in the present – be disruptive and debilitating to our “normal” way of sharing life together.

In order to best navigate this disruption, the staff has made a list of Terri’s many and diverse responsibilities and we are doing our best to fill these roles for the time being. We will need some of you to step up and help us fill these roles as well – at least, during an interim period.

After we’ve had adequate time to grieve our loss of Terri, we will begin to evaluate how to more permanently fill the roles Terri once filled. That means, for the time being, we may have to “muddle through” and patiently endure the discomfort of things not being “the way they used to be.” Eventually, we will establish a new equilibrium. It may take awhile, but we ask – in the meantime – for your faithful support during this time of transition and change.

During this interim, I heartily encourage you to follow the model Terri so faithfully embodied and do your best to joyfully support one another during our time of shared grieving. When the dust has settled, our mutual desire is to move forward in a new way that would both honor the memory of our beloved Terri and glorify the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom Terri loved and served so diligently and faithfully.

Together we will navigate the difficult waters ahead, and with the grace of God, will move forward into a new chapter that faithfully builds on the past without being chained to its form. I have every confidence that we can do this together. Keep us and our church in your prayers. And may God’s grace, mercy, and peace be with us all.

Your servant in Christ,

Reverend Rich Vincent


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