August 12, 2010 (drafted), August 23, 2010 (revised and sent after ten days in prayer)
Fremont Presbyterian Church Session & Family –
Subject: Patrick & Patricia Watters acceptance of call to discipleship/soul care ministry
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
This decision has been a very long time coming, and not without considerable deliberation in prayer, by ourselves, and with others. We have been in a season of “waiting” for about two years, during which time God has spoken to our hearts through His Word, other authors, people and circumstances. It is also not take lightly, as Patti and I have always considered our ties to Fremont to be similar to a marriage covenant.
Many of you may know of our recent “journey” with the congregation of River Life Covenant through the cancer and eventual death of Dr. David Kilmer, our long time close friend and Brother in Christ, who was an elder at River Life. During the past year or so we have ministered to Dave’s family, and to the larger family at River Life, and this during a time of pastoral transition for them. It has become clear that God is “calling” us to ministry at River Life, and that “call” has been confirmed and affirmed by the new pastor, leadership team and many members there.
Again, we have had many “leadings” or “openings” from His Word and Spirit in this time, not to mention wise words from trusted Brothers and Sisters in Christ who know and love us, and the Lord. An example of encouragement (exhortation?!), “You have a long tie and affection for Fremont as a thing (Wesley would call it an unholy affection, I think). But the brothers and sisters in Christ, Fremonters or not, are STILL your brothers and sisters in Christ. There is only One Body, One Church, One Faith, One Lord, One Baptism. You cannot leave the church, without leaving Jesus (but it is no problem leaving this or that building or organization or denomination—).”
We have grown in Christ during our time at Fremont, and have raised our family within the community of faith there. But, as our spiritual friend says above, it is the Body we belong to, not any particular “church” or denomination. Many of you also know of our extensive involvement in “para church” ministries; Young Life, E49 Corp. and others. It is that para church experience that has given us a larger vision of the true Church of Jesus Christ, the organism called the Body. And, our sincere intention is to remain closely related to that Body, including that part that calls itself Fremont, as we enter this new season of serving our Lord. It is also our hope to see partnerships continue to be made among area churches, especially in the area of discipleship and discipling (and all those words mean; healing, mentoring, teaching . . . preparing and partnering with God to see His Son formed in us . . . in a word, transformation.)
In closing, we don’t see this as so much a “leaving” as a “going”, much as Abram and Sarah did in faith so long ago. However, we do tender our resignation from the institutions known as the PCUSA and Fremont Presbyterian Church, as we sense this is a necessary part of our going. We have learned to have complete trust in God and His Providence, surrender and submission have become much easier in this season, thanks be to God. We go in the abundant Grace and Love of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and wish you all the Peace of Christ as we do.
Only by Grace,
Pat & Patti Watters