We are delighted to welcome Reverend Kathryn Palen to Warwick Central as our transition ministry pastor beginning June 1. Rev. Palen will offer us pastoral care and preaching while we continue our search for a settled pastor. We have been privileged to have Rev. Palen in our pulpit in the past. Rev. Palen is the Associate Executive Minister for Elder Care Ministries with ABCORI.
After realizing she was called to be a pastor, Kathryn obtained her Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School. She has served congregations in Rhode Island, Iowa, Washington, DC, Kentucky and Connecticut. She has also worked for the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty, Alban Institute, and several educational institutions.
Rev. Palen will be with us through September 6, 2020.
When your congregation’s Transition Team asked if I might be available to serve as a sort of bridge transitional pastor for the summer, I don’t think any of us knew exactly what to expect.
How might I help the congregation travel through a time of pastoral transition and the uncertainty of a global pandemic? Would we be able to return to the sanctuary for worship at some point during the summer? Could the congregation and I get to know one another virtually? Would we need to imagine a way to introduce a candidate for settled pastor that would differ from how that had been done in the past?
Transitions, by nature, are filled with the unexpected. We can make plans and try to anticipate what might come, but ultimately a certain amount of openness needs to be involved. Openness to both obstacles and opportunities, to both doubts and discoveries, to both strategy and spontaneity.
I am so grateful for the openness I have experienced during my time with you. As I mentioned in a recent sermon, no one would have blamed you for simply wanting to cling to how things have always been. Instead, you have been open to worshipping via Zoom, open to caring for one another in new ways, open to expanding how you might learn together, and open to how to witness to the world in unique ways.
Thank you also for being open to me. I could not have asked for a warmer welcome or more authentic acceptance. You have opened your hearts and minds as we have reflected on our faith during these challenging times and imagined who God might calling us to be and become.
While my time with you is coming to an end, please know that I will continue to hold you close. I will be eager to discover how God guides you along the next portion of your journey together as a congregation. I also will anticipate observing the new ways you find to be the church in our world.