First Presbyterian Church

May Grace and Peace Be With You All

To: Carla Beard, Clerk of Session, First Presbyterian, Connersville
Alan Thames, Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Whitewater Valley
Michael Whitfield, COM/PNC Liasion to First Presbyterian Connersville

Eddie Hammet, Congregational Coach with The Columbia Partnership writes in his book, “Making Shifts Without Making Waves,” “Change creates a storm crashing on the shorelines of our time.” Change and transition are consistent threads. There is never a perfect time for change, which is the situation as I inform you that I have accepted the position of Interim Pastor of the United Presbyterian Church, Bloomington, Indiana.

For 2 ½ years I have served as your Interim Pastor. You have cared for me and God’s church with great dedication. You have been faithful and, together, we have tacked the interim tasks with energy, intelligence, imagination and love. It is time for new leadership that can guide you into the continued days of discernment as you move closer to the pastor that God has in store for you. I feel that I have taken our church where God wanted me to take you. I now feel that God is leading me elsewhere – to Bloomington to serve as the Interim Pastor of the United Presbyterian Church (located only a mile from our house). The former pastor of United retired recently following a 20+ year tenure as pastor. There will be many challenges and demands over the next year as Bloomington United enters their first interim phase in over two decades. I am honored and humbled to have been chosen to lead that effort.

Leaving Connersville is bittersweet. I embrace a new opportunity and call and am grateful for our time together. You have been patient with my commute and supportive of my physical struggles. I know, however the work here is not yet completed. The Pastor Nominating Committee has been diligent and faithful in doing everything within their power to secure new pastoral leadership. But God has not yet provided that person. I sincerely believe a new pastor will be with you sooner than you know or imagine. Please continue to pray for the work of the PNC and to be faithful to your church. For Linda and me, life and ministry will be together again. Linda will continue her final push in completing her dissertation and begin to apply for teaching jobs.

I have asked our Session to dissolve the interim pastor call. My last Sunday will be December 22. I will take the 8 days following as vacation making my last official day, December 31. Carla Beard has graciously agreed to lead the Christmas Eve Candlelight Service as I would never want the evening in which we celebrate our Lord’s birth to be about Pastor Mitch. I will begin my work at United on January 1. I ask that we use December to celebrate our work together. I hope you will reaffirm your commitment to the Lord as well as to First Presbyterian Church. First Presbyterian has much good ministry left to do!. Your love and prayers are during these days are critical and appreciated.

Wishing you God’s Peace,

Rev. Mitch Coggin