From the Archives: December 27, 2015

The last Sunday of 2015 has finally arrived. The issue wasn’t the slowness of its arrival, I knew it was coming (they always come quickly). But this Sunday is a unique moment in our life together. As of Friday, Ken Garland will no longer officially be on our church staff. So that means that this is my last Sunday to tell him what to do (like I ever can anyway?). Just kidding. Ken is always supportive – and a team player.

In many ways, you may not notice much of a change by next Sunday. He’ll still be leading a Sunday School class, still teaching often on Wednesday nights, still a regular part of this church family. But still, life will change for us.

Ken and Karen came to Peninsula in 1975. He served as youth pastor before moving on to earn his PhD in Education at Talbot Seminary. His broad experience in church ministry – and his vivid stories of life in Texas shall surely be missed. I could always count on Ken to liven up a Wednesday staff lunch with a story from last year – or 60 years ago. They all flowed as if they’d just happened yesterday. I’m not sure I ever want to go to Amarillo, after hearing the lore of Ken’s childhood. Not that I ever wanted to visit before I knew Ken either. Let’s just be honest.

This week, life changes around here. It is yet to be determined if it will be better, except there’s probably a strong possibility that it will be better for Ken. Not many regret the transition to retirement, so I’ve been told. But in my line of work, we don’t really retire. The Kingdom needs don’t vanish or solve themselves, and there is no provision for spiritual leadership to just go away. Ken won’t either. He will listen to the direction of the Shepherd and gain new vision and passion to serve as God leads. And he won’t have to listen to me anymore!

So, thank you Ken for serving on the staff. You have smoothed many a ruffled feather and provided wisdom to navigate us through some tricky and hazardous waters. I still know your phone number and have complete confidence you will continue to take my calls. Karen will make you.

May the days ahead be full of rest and grace. Enjoy your family, your wife, and the fruits of faithful ministry. You are an important part of this church family, and we look forward to having you in the pulpit from time to time. Probably more than you think. Or want.

I have leaned on you for wisdom. I have leaned on you for encouragement. I have leaned on you for insight into challenging issues. But most of all, I have leaned on you as a friend. That will not change. Not if I have anything to say about it!

May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you and give you peace. You have blessed us. Served us. Guided us. Corrected us. Now, we just get all that for free again!