The Hard Work of "Leaving and Cleaving"

No, I’m not talking about the marriage version of “leaving and cleaving” (Genesis 2:24). What I am about to say may sound odd, but its profundity must be heeded! Very soon I will be new to you, and you will be new to me…in a new way! Here’s what I mean. Starting June 24th (the first day after my last day on June 23rd) I will no longer be your “pastor,” and you will no longer be my “congregation.” Nothing will ever change the fact that we have shared love, history, friendship, and a sacred journey that has shaped our lives for eternity. All of those blessings will travel with us into our future.

But two realities will cease immediately: the “Pastor-Parishioner” relationship will be no more. In the UMC, respecting and honoring professional boundaries and respectful protocols means our LEAVING this official relationship we have shared these many years will allow the necessary room to begin the process of CLEAVING to the new relationship you will have with Pastor Linda Tucker and her husband John. John will be serving full-time as the pastor of Langley UMC and they will together reside in Langley.

The faster I become “ancient History,” the quicker you will move into a new story and avoid getting stuck in the past. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth” (Isaiah 43:19). Cherish your special memories. Celebrate our friendship and pastoral moments. Remember all that was good about our journey together. Connect relationally and personally when appropriate. I am still your brother and friend in Christ for life. Please feel free to correspond or ask about us. Just know that it is not appropriate or healthy for me to speak with you (or listen to you) about the current status of the church or about Pastor Linda. This is a sacred boundary.

Especially in the first year, and since I will be 1300 miles away, it will not be helpful or appropriate for me to come back to participate in officiating at any priestly rites (weddings, funerals, baptisms, communion). You have a new Priest among you as God’s representative. Linda will serve you well. I must attend fully to my new “calling” as “Grandpa Parker! I too must leave and cleave. I now become a servant to your new pastor Linda. Anything I do will only be at her direct invitation and only as time and discretion allows and only if my presence undergirds and elevates your ministry.

One of the most important commitments I will make to you is to become….SCARCE! Even the ghost of David Parker must be banished from decision–making, directional evaluation, and determinative conversations on campus. “She [Linda] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Please respect the fact that my legacy has had its day in the sun, and it is time for another to leave their mark. Join Linda in forging a new future in the grace of God as the holy and beloved people of God. Serve alongside her faithfully as you have served with me.

Avoid the curse of comparison and those troubling church words, “We’ve always done it that way!” Please refrain from calling, emailing, or texting me with complaints, concerns, or troubling worries about the church. As God’s people, we always go straight to the source of our concerns and speak our truth in love. Cara and I will follow you all and pray for you from afar and keep up to speed as news travels south. You will always be cherished and beloved to us as brothers and sisters in Christ, but I will no longer be your “Pastor” and you no longer will be my “Parishioners.”

Your New Brother in Christ,

David 😊


Daisy S - April 25th, 2024 at 6:43pm

Gracious words of advice and encouragement, P Dave. Thank you…🙏🏼🫶🏼

Bob Wallin - April 25th, 2024 at 7:08pm

Thank you David for your wise words. Me must allow space for our new growth leader and give you space for your new reality of being close to your family once again as parents and grandparents.





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