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FEBRUARY 4, 2018

An announcement from Dave Parsons, Chairman of the Executive Board of Elders

For the past 27 years it has been my joy, privilege, and honor to serve Jesus, alongside my friend and brother in Christ, Lou Huesmann. As God would have it, I am here to announce his resignation as Sr. Pastor of Grace Brethren Church of Long Beach. At possibly the lowest point in my experience in leadership, I sat across the table from Lou and Laurie this past Tuesday and received his message to the elders that it was his intention to resign effective January 28, 2018. Lou has been my longtime friend, spiritual mentor and pastor for 27 years. It is extremely difficult for me to imagine what the future will be like without him occupying those multiple roles.

This past summer the elders began a process of attempting to understand the condition and health of our church. This process was born out of an understanding that our church was in need of healing and the elders wanted to take that seriously. We began an honest dialogue about our strengths and weaknesses, and met with many of you to attempt to better understand the heart and longings of our church. Upon Lou’s return from sabbatical, the elders initiated a process of conversation with Lou regarding the board’s findings. Through a series of conversations and prayer, Lou has decided to resign as senior pastor.

In the 24 hours following my meeting with Lou and Laurie I experienced an unimaginable sense of loss and grief. I believe that God allowed me to go through that experience so that I and the rest of the leadership here at Grace would be better equipped to shepherd a grieving church body. 

I’m not through grieving, and I don’t expect that many of you will transition from grief to hope quickly. It will take time. This is a time that we truly need one another, as a body of believers, to come out of this time of transition with confidence in our loving God and hope for the future. A future that He has already created for us.

I’ll close with a reminder of some of the words shared a couple of Sundays ago by Marsha Dobler to describe you, the body of believers here at Grace: a loving, caring and generous group of people who care deeply for one another and that your care extends beyond the walls this church. That is the legacy that Lou and Laurie leave behind, a body of Christ followers who love one another with kindness and care for all whom God puts in front of us.

May the Lord bless us and keep us and cause his face to shine upon us in this season of our history.
 

DAVE PARSONS

A comment from Bob Rudd, elder

I want to let you all know that this has been a very painful week for me and to let you know it is okay to grieve this. I want to make it very clear that there was absolutely no moral failure on Lou’s part.

You might be asking – Where do we go now? – well we need to allow space to grieve, but the elders have asked Daniel and Beth to fill co-leadership roles at this time. Daniel will be the Interim Lead Pastor and Beth will continue her Executive Pastor role. The elders will continue to work with and support our staff.

We are not hitting a pause at this point, but we are committed to listening to our Lord collectively and listening to this body as we process and make decisions at this time.

We were sad that Lou choose to leave in such an abrupt way and we desire to celebrate Lou’s ministry with Lou present at some point in the future and we are hopeful that we may yet be able to do so.

 

BOB RUDD

A letter from Lou Huesmann 

 

DEAR GRACE FAMILY,

After months of deliberation and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that it is time to trust God for the next chapter he has for me outside of ministry to you, the Grace church family. As a result, I have submitted my formal resignation as senior pastor of this church effective Sunday, January 28, 2018. Please know that this comes as a joint decision with my wife Laurie, who has walked alongside me in my 27 years of ministry at Grace, in my recent sabbatical, and in the events of the past 90 days leading up to the final decision. She knows me well and I trust her voice in my life. I have also had outside counsel along the way from godly and wise people I know and trust deeply. While the decision has not been easy, it has been very clear to me and to us that God is moving me out of pastoral ministry and into something else that is yet to be revealed.

While we will no longer be part of the Sunday gatherings, our friendships with you will not end. Those are gifts that we cherish and those relationships transcend the weekly event that we attend together. We have grown to know so many of you as a result of the many meals we’ve shared with you and the meaningful conversations we’ve had around the table together. That is something we want to continue. We will still be in Long Beach and our table will still be a welcoming place for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us to share a meal or a drink together. We want to continue our friendships with you because we love you and have been loved by you in so many ways.

I want to convey my deepest gratitude to you for allowing me to be shaped by God and this community in this pastoral role. I let go of this most recent chapter with confidence that God has more in store for Grace and that he will provide the leadership the church needs to move forward together from this point in time. I will be praying for your transition and for wisdom for all those who will be guiding you in this next season. God is faithful!

Once again, I want to express my love to you. I will always cherish the deep friendships that have resulted through all of these shared moments together.

May God bless you and make his presence a tangible reality in the days and months ahead.

With gratitude and love,

LOU HUESMANN

 

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