I am excited to announce my new call to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Kensington, CT.  Below is the letter I sent to the people of Faith Lutheran Church Gardner, MA.  My last Sunday at Faith will be on June 24th.  I am thankful and grateful for the support I have received from the people of Faith and I am looking forward to new adventures in Kensington.

May 8, 2018

Dear People of Faith,

It is with a mix of joy and sadness that I write to share the news that I have accepted a call to serve as the Pastor Redeveloper of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Kensington, CT.

In 2014 you took a chance on me as we came back to our home in New England. We shared in joy – celebrating baptisms and confirmations, marriages and new jobs. We shared in sorrows – celebrating the lives of the saints at funerals, talking through the difficulties of life.

We are filled with profound gratitude for you and what God has done in our midst. We could not have asked for a better church family and we are deeply grateful for how you have embraced each of us. You have shown us the love of God in many ways through your kindness, compassion, and understanding. You have taught me much about the Gospel, the love of God, and what it means to be a community of faith.

Katie and I have been praying about this decision and we feel God is calling our family towards this opportunity and we believe it is the right choice for our family. As a congregation in redevelopment, Prince of Peace is a great fit for my particular gifts and strengths in ministry. My last Sunday as the Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church will be June 24, 2018.

I want to let you know that this has been a difficult decision to make. You are wonderful people. My family has come to know and love both the community of Gardner as well as the community of Faith Lutheran Church. Together, over the course of the last four years, Faith has accomplished quite a bit. We have become more unified as a church, we have grown a deeper connection with Relay for Life through the survivors dinner, and we have built relationships with organizations in the community including AA, Gardner Emergency Housing Mission and many more.

While I will not be your pastor any longer, I am certainly your friend. I will continue to pray for you individually and as a congregation – and I hope that you will pray for my family and the ministry at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.

Thank you for the opportunity to have served as your pastor. I will always cherish you, people of Faith and our time in ministry together.

With my deepest gratitude and love,

Pastor Joe McGarry

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