A number of weeks ago my wife and I had to make a very difficult decision. As you may know I graduated from seminary last year and I am in the process of looking for a pastoral position in a church. When I started this process I was a member of the Reformed Church in America. I attended a Reformed Church, was a youth pastor in a Reformed Church and was attending a Reformed Church Seminary. As I went through this process it became clearer and clearer that I did not fit into the Reformed Church theological system. We knew that we would not be looking to serve in the RCA and that I would not be seeking ordination in the RCA. The problem was that we had been in our church for quite some time and we have very good friends in the church. We knew that we would eventually need to change our church affiliation but hoped that it would come after I found a church to serve in. However it became clear earlier this summer that it was probably best for us and the search process to make that change sooner rather than later.
For the past 7 weeks we have been attending and are now starting to volunteer at Village Church of Oak Park. It is a new church plant and part of the Evangelical Free Church of America. We don't know if we will end up in the EFCA but the theological beliefs of the EFCA align with our beliefs. While we are excited about being a part of a church plant and the new learning experience that it provides, it means that we have to say some very difficult good-byes. Our friends at Faith Community Reformed Church will always be our friends and we hope to stay in contact with them for the rest of our lives. But the reality of the situation is that we will no longer see them multiple times a week and the nature of our relationships will necessarily change. Even considering our belief differences with the RCA we would still recommend Faith Community Reformed Church to anyone living in the Stickney/Lyons/Berwyn area that is looking for a good church home and has a Reformed theological bent.
We have just sent a letter to the people of Faith to officially let them know of our decision. (The pastor and elders had previously been informed.) I want to take a moment and recognize the important role that the people of Faith have played in our lives. They made us a part of their families and invited us into their homes. They have also supported us throughout our seminary experience. We feel that the church is heading in a good direction and is really making a positive impact in the surrounding neighborhood. I especially want to highlight the impact of Pastor Chris and those that served as elders and deacons during our time at Faith. We are deeply indebted to their generosity and the opportunities that you provided for us. They didn't provide the minimums that I needed. Rather they were always willing to give more.
The chapter of our life that is entitled "Faith Community Reformed Church" is being closed. But it will never be forgotten and we will always look back on it with great fondness. We cannot thank the people of Faith enough and we will always have a special place in our hearts for you.
Updated 8/1/2012: Changed "Reformed Church of America" to "Reformed Church in America."