Farewell Letter to Congregation from Rev. Leach
A Parting Message from Our Associate Pastor for Missions
Dear Shadyside Family,
Nearly fourteen years ago, you welcomed me to be one of your pastors. Since that time, you have trustingly supported and participated in opportunities to witness Christ’s presence beyond our beautiful sanctuary. Throughout these years, you have invited me to travel alongside you in your personal journeys, and, together, we have journeyed alongside our mission partners near and far. These journeys have been filled with an abiding love and a generous grace. I will forever treasure them and hold them close to my heart.
I am writing to share with you that God is calling my family to a new journey. This past Sunday, I accepted the call to be the next Senior Pastor for the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Buffalo. I will begin serving Westminster on September 1, with August 8 being my last Sunday at Shadyside.
My call to serve as your Associate Pastor for Missions has never wavered, nor have I viewed this call as a stepping stone toward another opportunity. When Westminster reached out to me in early February, I shared with them that I continue to love engaging in our collective ministry at Shadyside. Westminster replied that they were searching for a pastor who loves ministry, who would also embrace the opportunity to lead them deeper into their community as their Senior Pastor. In the early months of our conversations, I began discerning God calling me toward this position.
Soon thereafter, I had the privilege to meet Rev. Austin Crenshaw Shelley, your next Senior Pastor. Rev. Shelley and I have been in close communication throughout this discernment process, and she has already become a trusted colleague in ministry. Though I am disappointed I will not serve Shadyside alongside her, I honestly have never been more excited for you. I am convinced of the Spirit’s movement in our midst, and anticipate Shadyside’s next chapter will be an outstanding one under Rev. Shelley’s leadership.
And speaking of colleagues, I have found the greatest throughout my Shadyside tenure. Words cannot express the care and respect I have for those with whom I have served, who are privileged to serve together as your staff. I pray for a similar staff at Westminster, but realize the rarity in such a committed and caring team.
Finally, on behalf of Linda, Nadia, and Dhini, I thank you for embracing us into the Shadyside community. You have lived well into your vows to help raise our daughters in faith. You have done so in both word and deed. You have been a treasure to us, and we will forever treasure our time with you.
And, as your Missions Pastor, I encourage you to continue seeking after and witnessing to Christ’s presence within and beyond the beloved Shadyside Presbyterian Church community.
Grace and peace,
Reverend Todd E. Leach
Associate Pastor for Missions