On her last day affiliated with Cathedral of Hope, the Rev. Jo Hudson sent a letter to the congregation saying goodbye.
Hudson resigned as senior pastor at the 11 a.m. service on April 21. Her resignation took effect Sunday, May 19.
In her letter, Hudson wrote that she is bound by the United Church of Christ’s Code of Ministerial Conduct to stop participating in the congregation, and she cannot perform any ceremonies.
While leaving members with her email address to stay in contact, Hudson said she cannot discuss the church.
The church plans to hire an interim pastor with a specialty in problem solving, healing and day-to-day church management. Once that person is in place, a search and call committee will be formed to find a permanent senior pastor.
At an April 29 board meeting, plans were announced to have an interim pastor in place by May 19, but that person has not been chosen.
The letter from Hudson to the congregation follows:
Grace to you and peace from our Abba God, Jesus our Christ and the Holy Spirit whose sustaining presence we celebrate this day. Nearly nine years ago, on August 1, 2004, I began my ministry at the Cathedral of Hope. As we now part, I am keenly aware of a sweet sorrow inhabiting my heart. It is sweet because of this time of ministry I have shared with you. It is sorrow because I now say goodbye.
There are not enough words to thank you for the love, kindness and support you have shown to me during these years. Through our shared worship and ministry I have been privileged to witness the love of God, and the presence of the Risen Christ in our midst. I have seen the Holy Spirit made manifest as we have prayed together, studied together and have been blessed to be able to baptize new Christians, marry those who have come to commit themselves before God to each other, and to bury those we have loved. For those opportunities I give God thanks and praise, and I thank you for ministering alongside me, sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am grateful to all of you who have visited, sent me notes, letters, texts, cards, gifts and e-mail thanking me and affirming my ministry and offering your love to my family and me. Your expressions of kindness have buoyed my spirit and strengthened my faith. Your gestures of love mean more to me than you can ever know.
Please know that I love you, will always love this good church and will miss you terribly. Still, as of tomorrow, May 20, 2013, I am obligated by the UCC Code of Ministerial Conduct to now absent myself from the life of this congregation. That means that I will not be present or participate in any of the ministries of this church and would only ever do so by invitation of the Interim or Called Senior Pastor. I will not perform baptisms, weddings or funerals, nor participate in the worship or ministry life of the church. This is my ethical commitment to you, which I believe is the best way for me to love you, even as I depart.
Some of you have asked how you might be in touch with me. I can now be reached at Rev.Dr.JoHudson@gmail.com. As I share this email address with you it is important that you know that I will not discuss the church other than to offer words of affirmation and support.
As we now separate, one from the other, I want to ask your forgiveness for any mistakes I have made that may have done any harm or cause you any heartache. I will always remain grateful for the ways my ministry among you has been received and as I leave I will forever carry with me all that I have learned and experienced, all of the love I have received, which in the end, is what should most be remembered anyway.
As I said when I announced my resignation, the best gift you can give to me and the way you can best honor my ministry is to continue your presence in and support of this church. It is my prayer that the Cathedral of Hope UCC will continue to be a beacon of hope for the least, the last, the lost and the lonely. Therefore, be strong and of good courage, do not lose heart, remember that God is with you, be the church, love one another, serve the Lord.
In our parting, I can think of no better words to share with you than these penned by the Apostle Paul to the church at Philippi. “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing the Gospel from the first day until now. I am confident that the One who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1. 3-6).
Now let us step into the future in peace, and may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit be with us all.
Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson