My family’s journey has been a remarkable one as God has repeatedly called me and opened doors to new opportunities. This last August marked 10 years that my family and I have been worshiping with you. It has been five years since God called me from the organ bench into a deeper commitment in ministry. Doors were opened to pastoral education at Christian Theological Seminary and here at Hazelwood. Together we have celebrated special events, milestones, and many other wonderful accomplishments. We have sat together through great sadness, grief, loss, and pain. I have had an exceptional and diverse experience that I would not trade for anything. When I was in seminary, I often heard other students envy the challenges and experiences I have faced while in a learning environment that has been so loving and nurturing. What my family and I have found is not just a church home, but a wonderful extended family.

I praise God for the journey we have shared, but God has not finished calling me. With much prayer and consideration, I have accepted the call to Mount Summit Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Mount Summit, Indiana to be their associate pastor overseeing the youth and worship ministry.

I use the word celebration to describe this letter about my calling, though my leaving is bittersweet. It is a celebration of the journey I have been on and of the journey to come. I hesitate to use the word resignation; resignation sounds like I’m giving up or accepting something undesirable but unavoidable. This could not be further from the truth. My work is not done because God’s work is not done. My call is not ending but is instead continuing where God needs me. While my work will not be directly with Hazelwood, we will always work together in the one universal church, which is the body of Christ, to bring glory to God’s name and share the good news of Jesus Christ with all God’s creation. In this I hope you will join me in celebrating my call.

Sunday, November 4, 2018, will be my last Sunday worshiping with you. The good news is Mount Summit is only thirty minutes away from our house, so our family does not have to be uprooted and moved. Logan will continue his education in the Yorktown Community Schools, and Stefanie will continue at Hazelwood as the Office Administrator. We will always carry our Hazelwood family in our hearts, treasure our memories, and remember our stories together.

This is not a farewell forever, for our hope in Christ assures us we will see each other again.

Peace & Blessings,

Rev. James Petty