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« Sunday Inspiration from Pray the Psalms | Home | Pastoring by Grace, Section 1 »

Grace in the Rearview Mirror: Introduction

By Mark D. Roberts | Monday, September 17, 2007

Part 1 of series: Grace in the Rearview Mirror: A Pastoral Retrospective
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Two weeks from today I will be driving across Arizona on my way to Texas, having said goodbye to California and the life I have known the better part of two decades. After sixteen years and three months as Pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, I have taken a new position as Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence for Laity Lodge, a multifaceted ministry in the Hill Country of Texas. (For more information on this new calling, check out my letter to my congregation. I’ll blog about Laity Lodge down the road a piece. Photo to the right: The sanctuary of Irvine Presbyterian Church.)

As you can well imagine, I have mixed feelings about this pending move. On the one hand, I’m excited by the opportunities and challenges offered by Laity Lodge, and look forward to joining the great team of people there. Yet, on the other hand, I feel deep sadness about leaving my church, especially leaving the wonderful people here who have loved me and whom I have loved for the past sixteen years. I would always have hoped that when it was time for me to leave Irvine Pres, both my congregation and I would feel some sadness about it. I’m glad folks aren’t cheering, happy to finally get rid of me. (Or, if they are, they’re doing it in secret.) But the sweet sorrow of leaving is, understandably enough, both sweet and sorrowful.

It seems appropriate for me to compose some thoughts as I finish my ministry at Irvine Presbyterian Church. In the days ahead, I’ll put up whatever strikes me as worth sharing with my blog readers. My hope in doing this is not only to do some personal reflection, but also to help others in their thinking about the church in general and pastors in particular. Most of my readers are not pastors, though quite a few are, actually. But most of my readers have pastors or priests, and are concerned about what happens in the church, at any rate.

I have entitled this blog series Grace in the Rearview Mirror: A Pastoral Retrospective. The “pastoral retrospective” part should be pretty obvious, since I’m going to look back at my sixteen years as a pastor. Ditto with the “rearview mirror” imagery. But you may be wondering why I’ve chosen the word “grace” to sum up my ministry at Irvine Presbyterian Church.

I’ll begin to answer that question in tomorrow’s post.

Topics: Pastors and Churches |

6 Responses to “Grace in the Rearview Mirror: Introduction”

  1. Thomas Buck Says:
    September 17th, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Dear Rev. Roberts:

    Here’s wishing you the best on this happy but difficult occasion. You will be in my prayers.

    Your congregation will certainly miss you, but they sound like great people, and will find a worthy successor, I’m sure.

    Remember your seat belt!


  2. Stephen Sokolyk Says:
    September 17th, 2007 at 3:57 pm

    I am a native of Kerrville and a fan of your blog. Welcome to Texas!

  3. Don Ryan Says:
    September 17th, 2007 at 6:25 pm


    I’m sure you’ll be a blessing in your new calling. Best wishes to you and your family. I look forward to following your new adventure.

  4. Mark Goodyear Says:
    September 18th, 2007 at 6:35 am

    My dad was in the military, so I grew up moving. It was painful every time. I’ll be praying for you.

    And I’m really excited that you’re coming!!!

  5. Linda Worden Says:
    September 18th, 2007 at 10:55 am

    Twenty-Two and a half years ago, my husband, our 3 school aged children and I moved cross country to join the H.E.Butt Foundation family. I can identify with all of your quandaries and questions! We felt God was leading and in these past many years, that has been confirmed over and over again. We were moving our family from the grounds of a 600 acre camp in southern Wisconsin where there were 60 horses, 8 miles of groomed cross-country ski trails, a 60 acre lake, buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright architects, wooded hiking trails, panoramic sunsets,a host of friends… with our aging parents a half day’s drive away. I wondered if we were making the right choice. How did this move make sense, especially for our children? I shared my questions and fears with a dear, mentor friend whose godly advice I frequently sought and always valued. She so wisely said to me, “Linda, God loves your children even more than you do and what’s right for you and John will be right for them also. He will be with all of you as you make this move.” Her words gave me much needed comfort, strengthened my resolve and proved to be true. We are excited about you and your family coming to TX. I pray that you also will find that God is leading and will continue to lead as your roots begin to grow deep in hill country soil.

  6. real live preacher Says:
    September 21st, 2007 at 9:47 am

    Dear Mark,

    As one who is in Texas, I welcome you. As a pastor of a church for 15 years, I think I can understand your grief.

    Be at peace, new friend.


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