Several weeks ago I posted about an introductory letter I was working on to send to people connected to Tonganoxie UMC. This morning I dropped 162 hand addressed copies of the letter in the mail, but I wanted those of you who read this and aren’t connected to that congregation to be able to see what I ended up writing as well. I am so looking forward to beginning my ministry with that congregation!
Dear __________ ,
My name is Jeff Clinger and I have been appointed to serve as the Pastor of Tonganoxie UMC beginning July 1, 2011. I’m sending this note to share a bit about myself and about my plans for our first weeks together.
Since the summer of 2002 this is the 5th introductory letter that the congregation has received from the new pastor of Tonganoxie UMC. My guess is that you might feel you have heard it all, that you can imagine what I have to say, and that there is a temptation to simply place this in the recycling without reading on. Please read on. Please.
In the summer of 2002 my wife Heather and I moved back to Kansas after graduating from college (she in Indiana and I in Nebraska). We were married at the end of that June and that fall we moved to Evanston, Illinois for seminary. Our move to Tonganoxie this summer is our 6th move since moving to Evanston in 2002. We are ready to settle down and are thrilled to come to Tonganoxie to be in ministry here. We hope for many years together in ministry (seriously, I’d love to journey in ministry with you for 10 years or more)!
I have included with this letter the introductory article that ran in the Church’s newsletter in April so that, if you missed it, you might be provided with a bit more insight into who I am.
Please plan to come to worship with me on my first Sunday, July 3. I am working with the worship team to design a special service in which we will celebrate communion, and remember and reaffirm our baptism as we begin our ministry together. July 3 will also be the first of a 5-week series titled “Calling and Community.” Plan to be there as we talk about “Jesus. Paul. You?”
Just a bit more about who I am and how I function:
- I do not have the gift of brevity. I have the gift of gab.
- I thrive on interactions with others.
- I am a people pleaser (though working on overcoming that).
- I am obsessively organized (in many areas of my life). For example, I keep a very detailed calendar and task list that help me navigate my days. My sock drawer? Not so much.
- If it means anything to you, my Meyers-Briggs profile is a strong ENFJ.
- I believe self-care is incredibly important (though I often struggle to do it well).
- I believe that people are inherently good.
- I believe that God loves us exactly the way we are, but doesn’t want us to stay that way.
- Some of my favorite scriptures are: John 10:10, Micah 6:8, Luke 12:48b, Romans 8:38
- I have recently put my personal mission (or my goal for life) into words, “Growing in and helping others know Christ’s transformative love.”
I look forward to growing in relationship with you as your pastor and getting to know you better in the coming weeks and months and years. I am excited to see where God guides us together as a part of Tonganoxie United Methodist Church.
I hope you’ll be present in worship on July 3 and look forward to seeing you soon!
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Jeff Clinger