Dear Friends in Christ,
As my ministry draws to a close, I realize that 42 years in ministry—20 of them here at St. James—seemed a lot longer at the outset looking ahead, than it now appears in hindsight. Time flies when you enjoy what you are doing, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my years in ministry, especially these past two decades at St. James.
It has been my great privilege to serve as your pastor. One joy of an extended pastorate is the opportunity to come to know individuals and families personally and well. What a rich blessing it has been to worship with you in our beautiful sanctuary, led by our many talented musicians.
Over the years, we have been ambitious in pursuing mission and outreach projects that have benefited many. From welcoming refugees, providing PADS dinners, working on Habitat Builds, supporting COOL Food Pantry, strengthening Sagrado Corazón, helping students through Waukegan to College and North Chicago Community Partners, undergirding Lutheran Social Services of Illinois—you have demonstrated your devotion to loving and caring for our neighbors.
St. James is a vibrant and healthy congregation. You are well equipped to continue to be a blessing in this community and beyond. There are many talented members and capable leaders. I am confident that by God’s grace, St. James will continue to Follow Christ, Make Disciples and Live the Gospel.
I am grateful for all that we have shared. You have enriched my life in lasting ways. We will always be brothers and sisters in Christ, yet I am no longer your pastor. Please know that I will not be able to officiate at any baptisms, weddings or funerals, in accordance with ELCA guidelines.
There is sadness in this time of parting. But there is even more cause for celebrating: celebrating what God has accomplished in us and through us, celebrating the love and faith that we share, celebrating our unshakeable hope in God’s grace. I will always carry you in my heart. God be with you now and always.
Richard E. Holmer, Pastor