Farewell Letter to Congregation from Dr. Dalles

The Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles

A Parting Message from Our Interim Minister

Dear friends,

After two wonderful years as your interim minister and head of staff, I will be leaving on Sunday, February 14. The Human Resources Committee and the Pastor Nominating Committee have recommended, and Session has approved, that my contract with the congregation not be renewed when I have completed my second year with you on that date.

What a privilege it has been to share the journey of faith with you. I count it among my deepest joys. Even in sad times, what a blessing it has been to support each other in these moments. Our lives have been interwoven in the fabric of faithful service to our Lord and Savior. I thank you. And Judy and Mom add their thanks to my own.

If we could take a snapshot of the congregation in February of 2019 and hold it alongside today, we would see a church we recognize, but also a church that has been much transformed. The responses we have acted upon due to the pandemic, and all the measures we have initiated to meet this highly unusual situation — indeed, all that we have accomplished together — took optimism and dedication, in which you generously shared. Two years ago, none of us could have predicted Zoom meetings, or the livestreaming of worship. I am sure, just as we have done these things, so, too, they will continue into the future, for the worship and praise of our Living Lord. This is God’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.

Between now and mid-February will be the “Season of Farewell.” We will be sharing with you as we always have, but aware it will be a series of “lasts.” Our farewell Sunday is February 14. That day, by way of our livestreaming of worship, I will extend our love and thanks to you. After that day, we will continue to hold you in our prayers and ever be the friends to you that we have been. What we will not be is pastor and pastor’s family. Someone yet unknown, who will be called as your next minister, will fulfill those roles. Give your new minister the same support and encouragement you have given to me.

Some of you have asked: Where will you be next? The answer is, I do not yet know, although I am exploring a number of possibilities. All through the Bible, God’s people are called to be ready to go where God is leading them; and with those many examples as our guide, we will say yes to what God has envisioned as the next chapter in our lives. We will miss you deeply. Shadyside Presbyterian Church will ever be written upon our hearts and held in our prayers.

Love and blessings, now and always,

Reverend Dr. John A. Dalles
Interim Senior Pastor and Head of Staff

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