Dear friends in Christ,
On July 20, 2007, Nicci Kennedy answered God’s call to serve the Ridglea Presbyterian Church as Coordinator of Children’s and Youth Ministries, and for over a decade, she has served this congregation with energy, intelligence, imagination, and love.
Therefore, it is with both profound sadness at her impending departure and profound thanksgiving for her years of faithful service that the session reports that Nicci has discerned that God is calling her to new horizons and that she has tendered her resignation effective October 15. Please see Nicci’s letter to the congregation below.
In the gospels, Jesus says whoever welcomes a child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Nicci has abundant gifts for welcoming children, and for eleven years, she has generously shared those gifts with us. Nicci has welcomed infants and toddlers in the nursery, elementary school children in Messenger Fellowship, and middle and high school students in Ridglea Presbyterian Church Youth. Nicci has held firm to the conviction that these children and youth are not the “future of the church,” but rather a vital an integral part of the present of the church now. Nicci has played a vital role in the development of intergenerational ministry as one of our congregation’s core values, and she has been a valuable colleague in ministry. She has left an indelible mark on this congregation, and she will be greatly missed.
We hope that you will join us in the River Oaks Fellowship Hall for a reception after worship on Sunday, October 21, as we celebrate and give thanks for Nicci’s ministry among us. You are invited and encouraged to write a note of appreciation for Nicci, and if you would like to include a gift, please note that from an income tax perspective, it is more advantageous to both Nicci and the church if you make your gift directly to her, rather than routing it through the church.
While we know that this announcement will come as a surprise to many, the Christian Education Committee and the session are already hard at work on transition plans and that our commitment to vibrant children’s and youth ministries at Ridglea Presbyterian Church remains as strong as ever. If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to speak with any member of the session.
Your servants in Christ,
I have come to the decision that it is time for me to leave Ridglea Presbyterian Church. This has been a very challenging and difficult decision for me to reach. I asked the Session not to share this announcement until after the Fall weekend retreat with our youth, so that our time could be focused on their growth, and helping seeds to be planted and nurtured, and not on me and my leaving.
It has been my joy and privilege to be a part of so much with this congregation over the last eleven years: four Senior pastors, two locations, new friends, loss of colleagues, and most importantly, being a part of the growth and development of so many children and youth. So many opportunities for both personal and professional growth have been given to me in this city that raised me.
I have spent much time meditating and in prayer about this next step. I have come to realize it is time for me to continue in prayer with and for Ridglea Presbyterian Church, but from a new place. This decision has not been reached easily as I care so much for you all– especially our children and youth.
This time of discernment for Ridglea Presbyterian Church continues. I am confident God is with you all in this journey as God is with each of us.
This congregation has had an incredible impact on my life! Sharing in times of laughter and tears, times of giggles and tough questions, times of learning and sharing and for all of that and so much more I will always be thankful. I have experienced festivals and funerals, celebrations and tears, whoopies and poopies (term used by the youth), flooding and moving, creating and recreating, games and recitals, doctor appointments and tough decisions, no where and now here moments that are formational and God-filled. Thank you for trusting me, for walking with me in ministry, and for welcoming me into your lives. The memories will never be forgotten.
You are all loved and will be in my prayers. I am sad not to see Ridglea Presbyterian Church move through this phase and into the final destination on Southwest Blvd. I rest assured God is with us wherever we go! We need to continue to invite God into our space, share, but also listen. I truly believe we have two ears and one mouth so we will spend twice as much time listening as we do sharing. My hope for each of you is to take time everyday to share with God and also take time to listen as you discern as a congregation what is to come.
“May the Lord watch between me and thee while we are absent one from the other.” Genesis 31:49
With great hope-