July 12, 2016

The retirement service opened this year with exciting music by Kuomba Pamoja (Worship Together) of Central UMC (Kansas City). This is a new church start of African immigrants, already at 200 members strong at only a year old.     

Other participants of the service included Rev. Keith Morgan of the Clergy Support Team, Dr. Susan Ventura, the district superintendents and Bishop Schnase. Dr. Ventura shared the Scripture for the service, Philippians 3: 7-16.

Every year when the Missouri Conference clergy retire, they offer up thanks and reflections on their lives in ministry. Retiring this year but not present at the service: Mary Avizenis, Joe Crews, Michael Davidson, Roger Jeppson, Lawrence Kasl, Laura Wilson.

Sue Biggerstaff: And as I continue to listen to God, I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next!

Rick Broadway: As it is with all of us, there have been experiences that have been painful and difficult, and there have been some wonderfully delightful times that have brought laughter and hope. Thank God and thank you all for being a part of the journey.

Gary DeWitt: I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of you for all you do for the cause of Christ and His Kingdom.

Ross Fulton: Next! Next?

Gary Griffen: I leave you with a thought from little old me. It was really a caution from John Wesley. “I fear not that the church will cease to exist, but that it will become just an institution…” you get the gist.

Larry Hall: I would urge anyone to take the same steps that I have taken. The blessings continue to rain down. I give thanks every day for being given this opportunity.

Franklin Husted: I have loved every church I have been appointed. Yes, there have been ups and downs, but ups and downs are a part of life. Soli Deo Gloria!

Roger McKee: Being a pastor can be the greatest joy in the world when you see someone come into a relationship with Jesus Christ. I thank God for being able to serve in His churches.

Bonnie Menough: Our God has a wonderful sense of humor! What other reason would God have to call a 49-year-old grandmother back to school and into ministry. To those whom God sent to travel this journey with us: Thank you for believing in me.

Marilyn Niemeyer: I have had the honor of serving in four United Methodist Churches during my time in ministry. In each setting I learned and grew as a pastor.

Bob Payne: My work with United Methodists started with one church, then to four, then seven, then two appointments of two each. I’m afraid if I stay longer, I might get demoted back to one church!

Debbie Peebles: I have loved serving the United Methodist Church and I retire with mixed emotions, but with much discerning. We have experienced the love of Christ and the peace of Christ which passes all understanding. Thanks be to God.

Mary Sue Reames: It’s been quite a journey, brothers and sisters, but it is now time to re-direct the energy I have left and to conquer new projects. So watch for me; and never underestimate an old woman with a theology degree!

Sam Smith: I leave asking people to read God’s love letters, the Bible, and wake up each morning saying “Good Morning Lord, what can I do for you today, and thank you,” all the while loving the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and loving your neighbor as yourself.

Dale Stone: I love being a pastor—witnessing our love for God and church as well as our holy wrestling with ministry in the 21st century. Now…more time for family, friends, reading, gardening, symphony orchestras, and God’s dynamic, deep-skied, windy prairies. 

Martha Truax: Although I am retiring I know that God is not done with me yet. I’m looking forward to continuing to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He calls me to serve.

Susan Ventura: The three prayers that have been most in my mind and heart, year after year have been: “Thy will be done.” “Okay” and “Thank you”. As my life is redirected in retirement, my first prayer is “Thy will be done.”

Richard White: My faith has grown as has my ability to forgive. I’ve experienced being cared about as I’ve cared for others. I’ve had horrible, painful failures and unequaled, glorious victories. As I hear God saying “Thank you”, it’s time to go now.”