The Cloud has Moved: News from Milwaukee
For the last couple of days we have been digging our way out of a serious dumping of snow on us here in Milwaukee. Currently the temps are about 19 degrees (it was 10 as we went to worship this morning) and some snow flurries are gently falling.
This day in Milwaukee is a day mixed with sadness and joy for my family. Today I informed my family here at Southside that the cloud had moved, that I was resigning from the duties as pulpit minister effective December 31, 2006. I informed my beloved family that my family would be relocating to Tucson, Arizona and will begin working with the Palo Verde Church. This was a most difficult decision but I believe it is one that God has directed. I share below the letter that I read to Southside in both worship services ... with only the more personal stuff edited out.
"December 3, 2006
After a long and difficult year, 2002 turned into a magnificent blessing for my family. That year . . . my family was down for the count.
Then five men, Dana McMillion, Rodney Windell, Wayne Alexander, Al Gray and Monroe E. Hawley invited my family to a place called Milwaukee, WI. It was a hopeful sign and on my birthday, August 25, 2002, the Valentines were asked to work with God's wonderful family on the corner of 20th and Grange. That invitation was a gift from God!
Since then my family has experienced one blessing after another. These blessings were not simply my own but for Pamella, Rachael, and Talya too. We have learned what brats are, fallen in love with custard, we drink Sprecher's Root Beer, we play Sheepshead, and we can even find the bubbler.
We have been adopted here at this place. There are those in this family who have shared with us in ways that we can never repay or be worthy of receiving. We have learned what love really means through many of you. We are blessed by you and I am a grateful man.
Since 2002 the leadership of this congregation has changed somewhat. Dana and Rodney have been called to other places. Bruce Williams has been an outstanding addition to the eldership. There are no four men that I hold in higher esteem than my Shepherds here at Southside. They have been patient with my foibles. They have helped mature me in ways they cannot know. I consider it a great honor to know them and serve with them.
These facts have made my decision all the more difficult and agonizing for our family . . . In September, I became aware of a congregation, the Palo Verde Church of Christ in Tucson, Arizona . . .
After much prayer, after much discussion with Pamella, Rachael, Talya ... I have decided to accept an invitation to work with the Palo Verde church. I have informed the elders of my decision on Thursday night. Thus my family will be making the transition to Tucson in January 2007.
We are saddened by our departure from Milwaukee and Southside. It is our prayer that our friendship with each of you as individuals and with Southside as a congregation will suffer no loss but grow ever deeper. Our home, as it has been here, will be open to you when you want to get away from the 20 below zero winter.
The actual circumstances of being offered the position at Palo Verde has lead Pamella and I to truly believe this is God's will. We covet your prayers as we make this transition. We will be in prayer for you too. We seek our Abba's blessings upon you and I know he will be generous in them.
"May the LORD bless you and keep you and make his face shine upon you."
In Christian Love,
The Valentine Family"
This is a major transition that I never would have dreamed off earlier in the year. But as Numbers says ... sometimes the cloud does move and we follow the Lord no matter where he leads. Or when.