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Pastor Patricia’s Pauses

It is with mixed emotions that my family and I will be leaving Douglas, WY by July 31, 2022. Bishop Karen Oliveto and the Cabinet of the Mountain Sky Conference have appointed me to a full-time position in Cheyenne, WY starting August 1, 2022.

In the Methodist tradition, clergy follow an itinerancy process. This means that any clergy goes where the Bishop and Cabinet appoint them. Each year, around January, clergy fill out a form to let the Bishop and Cabinet know some information. The appointments typically start July 1 and go through June 30 of the following year. However, this year the Bishop and Cabinet had more churches to fill with a pastor than pastors available to fill those spots. This problem of having a shortage of pastors is a nationwide issue in the United Methodist Church. It is not just our Conference.

Each year, I have filled out the form the same way. My choices are: a) Yes, I believe that my gifts and graces will continue to be of service to my current appointment, b) No, I believe that my gifts and graces are no longer of service to my current appointment, or c) I feel my gifts/graces can still be used at my current appointment or at another appointment depending on what the Conference needs. Each year I have chosen option c since I have started in the summer of 2019. Then, I write in a comment that I feel called to a full-time appointment.

This past May, I graduated with my Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary. I still am on the ‘elder tract’ to hopefully be ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in the next few years. The Master of Divinity is a requirement to become ordained. I served the people of FUMC Douglas as a licensed local pastor. And it was my very first appointment as a pastor.

I am aware that my leaving will cause a plethora of emotions among the people called Methodists in Douglas, WY. I, too, have a plethora of emotions going on right now. I want you all to know that I sincerely have been honored to be your pastor for the last 3 years. You have taught me many valuable lessons that I pray I will take with me to my next appointment. Hopefully, you have been blessed by my presence as your pastor as well.

The Bishop and Cabinet (mainly through our District Superintendent, Mark Calhoun) will be in conversation with the Staff Parish Relations Committee (SPRC) in the coming weeks. Those conversations will involve trying to find a pastor for the First United Methodist Church in Douglas starting after August 1, 2022.

In order to help the new pastor start to establish relationships with you, the tradition is that the leaving pastor not have any contact with members of the church that they are leaving for a year. This includes Facebook, phone calls, email, etc. Know that I have been changed for the better because of you. I pray that I continue to serve the people called Methodists well in my future appointments. And, of course, I pray that all will be well with each and every one of you.

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136 South 5th Street
Douglas, Wyoming 82633
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