The passing of time brings about a myriad of changes that affect our very existence. I’m beginning to understand that a profound change in my life approaches as I prepare to enter retirement. I have worked since I was sixteen years old, not working or seeking employment will be a strange circumstance.
Serving as the Regional Minister for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) Michigan Region has been an honor, a privilege, and a blessing. I have many memories, the good far outnumber the bad. To quote James M. Barrie, “God gave us memories that we may have roses in December.” Reflecting on my ministry as Regional Minister, I have many bunches of roses this December. I was blessed by the collegiality and support of clergy from across the Region as well as from lay leadership which contributed to my ability to fulfill my responsibilities. The volunteers who serve as officers, commission chairs, task force leaders, committee chairs, working at the Crystal Conference Center, the Regional office, organizing retreats are the greatest in the world. God bless you all.
I have often said that my becoming the Regional Minister was a miracle ordained by God and will always hold on to that as fact. I will be eternally grateful to Rev. Morris Finch, former Regional Minister, who ordained me and laid the foundation for this to occur. He has consistently encouraged me throughout my ministry, even to this moment.
I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the respect and support, I received from the College of Regional Ministers of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) United States and Canada. This has meant so much to me.
I want to express my gratitude to Rev. Maggie Mills, who I partnered with as Transitional Co-Regional Minister. The two years we worked together provided a critical learning period that enabled me to move smoothly into the role of Regional Minister. Also, I want to thank God for the support, counsel, and partnership of Rev. Neil Topliffe who allowed me to benefit from his broad experience in ministry across the Christian Church. He worked with me in true partnership to address the needs and concerns of the ministry of the Region.
I am grateful for all these gifts this Christmas season, the love of God revealed in my ministry as Regional Minister.
Pastor Eugene James