April 30, 2017
A Note from the Keepers Family
Dear Fellowship Family,
We want to begin by expressing our gratitude for your prayers for our family over the past couple weeks as we’ve been in this important season of discernment. So many of you have sent notes, emails, texts, and cards of encouragement and support. It has meant the world to us.
If you were present at the congregational meeting this past Sunday, then you know that we have decided to accept the call for Brian to be the next lead pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. This decision came after much prayer and wrestling. The hardest part is leaving you, a congregation we love so deeply. You have been our community for the last twelve years. And prior to that, you shaped us so profoundly when Brian was a seminary intern at Fellowship.
We’ve come to the conclusion that there isn’t ever a “good” time to say goodbye to a congregation you love, but there are better and worse times. It seems to us, given the health and stability of Fellowship, that this is a “better” time for us to make a transition. With the building project nearly complete and such a strong and competent staff in place, we are confident that Fellowship has an exciting future. It also seems like a good time for our family to make a change, since Emma is finishing up 8th grade and will be starting high school this fall.
While it has always been hard for us to imagine serving another congregation besides Fellowship, it has become clear that God is calling us to Trinity. Northwest Iowa is the place where we (Brian especially) have roots and that has deeply formed us over the years. We have family in the area, and we are excited for our girls to get to be near their cousins on Brian’s side and get to know them better. Like Fellowship, Trinity is a very vital and healthy church. One of the unique things about Trinity is that it has a strong ministry to college students, faculty, and staff from Brian’s alma mater, Northwestern College, as well as Dordt College and Northwest Iowa Community College. For some time, Brian has sensed God calling him to college ministry in some capacity. This would allow him to do campus ministry and be a pastor to a congregation.
It’s important to say that our decision has nothing to do with anything being wrong with Fellowship and everything to do with a sense of call to Trinity. God is at work in such powerful ways in and through Fellowship, and we celebrate the amazing staff in place. We also give thanks for our incredible lay leaders, and have such confidence that God will lead Fellowship to the next lead pastor who will be the right fit for an exciting new chapter.
We will be working with the Human Resource Team, Consistory, and Staff to determine the best plan for a transition. Our last Sunday at Fellowship will be Pentecost (June 4). Between now and then, we’d love to connect with as many of you as possible. Please know how much we love you, and how grateful we are for the last twelve years of getting to do life and ministry together in Jesus’ name. You are an amazing congregation, and it has been our deepest joy to get to serve Christ with you.
With Love and Gratitude,
Pastor Brian, Tammy, Emma and Abby