April 10, 2013
“May Life bless us and keep us . . . .”
Dear members and friends,
After serving as your Senior Minister for more than twenty-six years, it is time for me to retire. Consequently, on April 9, 2013, I informed the church Board of Trustees that I am announcing my resignation as Senior Minister effective June 30, 2014 – about fourteen months from now.
Some of you may recall that last year about this time, I told you in a Chanticleer article that I was beginning to think about retirement and that I would give you at least twelve months’ notice, which would be ample time for a happy and healthy transition to an Interim Minister and eventually a new Senior Minister. This is that notice.
It has not been an easy decision. I love this congregation, and you, and count many of you as friends. It will not be altogether easy to make this transition, but ours is a remarkably strong and healthy church, the second largest in the district, the fourteenth largest in the nation, with an excellent reputation and a superb staff. Consequently, please be assured that the church will be in an excellent position to attract the highest caliber of new professional leadership. As one denominational official said recently, “Milwaukee is a plum.”
Why am I retiring now? Because I am 65, still cancer-free, and I want to retire while I am still healthy, and while I can still finish up my ministry strong and, together, we can end joyously and well. Additionally, the fabulously successful pledge drive we are currently wrapping up gives me renewed confidence in this congregation, its leadership, and future.
What’s next? Customarily, after a long ministry, there is an Interim Minister for one or two years to help make the transition from one minister to another. This allows time to reflect on the past, assess the present challenges and opportunities, and to carefully plan for the future. Again, the timing of this announcement will provide ample opportunity, with seasoned help from the Unitarian Universalist Association, to plan and execute the necessary transitions, first, to an Interim Minister, and then to a new Senior Minister.
I have been extraordinarily blessed with the privilege of serving you over the years, and I am proud of what we have accomplished together. I am especially indebted to the legions of gifted lay leaders with whom I have worked for, lo, these many years, and to the fabulous staff team at the heart of our beloved community. It will be difficult for me — and for my wife Lois, too — to leave this extraordinary community, for I bet my life on this congregation and, thanks to you, I have been richly rewarded. Some of you will miss me, too, perhaps, so let us take the next fourteen months to lay our plans, review our accomplishments, get ready to say our goodbyes, and celebrate this great church and what we’ve meant to each other. I look forward to that!
Finally, I invite you to please join us this Sunday, April 14, at one of our two regularly scheduled Sunday services, purposively a Family Sunday, for a brief reiteration of this announcement and a few “reflections” on this transition under my announced sermon title, “The Way Leads On.”
Cheers and love forever,
The Reverend Andrew C. Kennedy