Letter from Pastor Kyle

Friends – today I have that unique combination of a hopeful spirit and a heavy heart that comes anytime change looms on the horizon. I’m writing you to share that this summer I will be leaving Grace and going to serve St. Paul’s United Methodist Church as their Senior Pastor. Our Bishop, David Wilson, and District Superintendent, Tom Brady, have discerned, along with our Great Plains Cabinet, that a lead pastor role is the next appropriate step for me, and have recently determined that St. Paul’s is an excellent fit for my leadership gifts and abilities. When I got the call, and had the chance to talk with Hope and spend time in prayer, we also knew that this was a great fit and the next most faithful step. I am excited for this journey! St. Paul’s is a strong, inclusive community with a solid foundation that has been serving in Lenexa for almost 40 years. They have great staff and worshipping communities, and they are ready to ask what’s next and what’s new for them as they move into the future. It will be a good place for who I am and how I lead, and a great chance to grow in ministry responsibilities and capacity. It will also be a wonderful and nurturing community for Hope and Gracie.

But leaving Grace will not be easy. Most of you know that I was formed and shaped and influenced by Grace long before I came to serve as a pastor here six years ago. Grace was my home when I was a toddler and when I received my Third Grade Bible; it is where I was confirmed and was given my first opportunities to lead in the church. Throughout my youth and young adulthood, Grace was pivotal to me developing and discerning my call to ministry, and supported me throughout my process.

It has been all the more of a blessing, then, these last six years to journey alongside of you. Again, this church invested in me, as you entrusted me to imagine and launch Common Grace. You allowed me to grow in my understanding of myself and to take on more responsibility in supervising and implementing our day-to-day operations. You have invested in an amazing group of staff that I could lead alongside, and you have prepared me for ministry in the future. You celebrated me as I married Hope, and then again as we welcomed Gracie Ruth into the world last summer. It is for all of this and so much more that I am grateful today; and it is for all of this and so much more that goodbyes will be tough.

The sadness exists because of the depth of relationship we have built, the ministry we have shared, and the joy we have experienced. It is no doubt heightened because we are a community that has been in the throes of change recently. And it is true that, if you are like me, the idea of more change feels a bit overwhelming. BUT – I know what this community is. I know who you are. I’ve seen it for 30 years. So, while things may be a bit disorienting right now, I have full confidence that you have the resources and gifts that are needed to see one another through. You will be led by great pastors and staff – now and in the seasons to come. And most importantly, you will be led by God, as this church has been for 165 years.

In the next few months, we will celebrate together what has been, and we will work together as we prepare to welcome Pastor Barry into the community this summer. And in all things, we will find moments of levity and laughter as we journey on into God’s vision for the future.

Grace + Peace,

Pastor Kyle