St. Paul's United Methodist Church
Wednesday, November 20, 2019



We invite you to worship with us each Sunday!
You will be warmly welcomed as you experience
the love and the grace of God through our
Sunday worship services and teaching.



TWO SERVICES - 8:30 AM & 11:00 AM
The folks of St. Paul’s offer worship in which we honor tradition, are challenged with the Christian journey, celebrate the Word and share our stories in the intimate setting that is St. Paul's Church. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to worship for the Children’s Celebration at each service. If you and your family are searching for meaningful worship and discipleship, join us for these opportunities to explore your faith. St. Paul’s is a spiritual home for people of all ages and backgrounds and for families, traditional and non-traditional, where creativity and passion for the Gospel flourish and we are bound by the love of God that draws us together.

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October 31, 2019


Dear Saints at St. Paul’s,
By now you know that I have accepted Bishop Johnson’s appointment to serve on the pastoral staff at Epworth United Methodist Church in Rehoboth Beach, DE, beginning July 1, 2020 along with my wife, the Rev. Dr. Vicki Gordy-Stith, who will begin serving as Epworth’s pastor on January 1, 2020. The early retirement of the current senior pastor at Epworth UMC, the Rev. Vicky Starnes set this series of appointments in motion. Though I am grateful to our Bishop and Cabinet for their hard work to find this joint appointment that allows my wife and I to serve together at a church where our gifts and graces for ministry are well suited, I am heartbroken to have to leave you – a people among whom I have experienced both a wonderful ministry partnership and your grace-filled hospitality.
Since arriving here last July in the wake of our son, Elijah’s death, you have welcomed and embraced me and my family as your own. I love serving among you as we seek to know and follow God’s will among our neighbors in M.O.T. This summer, our leadership team identified the following values that define us: hospitality, fellowship, inclusion, and outreach. I share these core values in my life and ministry and feel uniquely called to serve here as your pastor. Courtney Martin celebrated a few Sundays ago that St. Paul’s is a church that says, “Yes!” I couldn’t agree more – and even when we struggle to know God’s will for us all, we do so with courageous integrity and deep respect.
Why have I made this decision to leave after only two years as your pastor?
As a clergy couple, Vicki and I seek a balance that honors both our marriage and ordination covenants. When we were in seminary, the Bishop of the Virginia Conference promised us that if we served under him, he would either break up our marriage or force one of us to give up ordination because he felt clergy couples were not worth the trouble. Since Bishop Susan Morrison ordained us together in 1993, we are grateful to have served under four Bishops here who have celebrated our love for each other, for God, and the Church as a worthwhile gift. In 1997, we were the first clergy couple appointed to serve as co-pastors in the Peninsula-Delaware Annual Conference. After serving 14 years as co-pastors at Skyline UMC, we have served a succession of appointments that at one point required us to live apart for two years (visiting on weekends). The opportunity to serve a church together is a rare gift of God.
Having trusted the Bishop and Cabinet to make an appointment that honors our marriage and ordination covenants, I expect nothing less for you, my sisters and brothers in Christ, as they discern the pastor who is best suited to partner in ministry with you starting next July. We will probably know who that person is in the spring. In the meantime, I intend to work with you and our leaders to continuing our ministry momentum together and preparing the way for that pastor. As I pray for them, even in the midst of my grief over leaving you, I am excited about the blessing that is in store for them and for you in your ministry partnership together. Yes. I am excited for them and for you. Because in the short time that God has given us together, you have profoundly blessed my life. For the gift of who you are in Christ Jesus, and for the gift of partnering with you in the adventure of ministry, I will be forever grateful. Wherever I go, I will be shaped by your love.