What comes next?

The future of All Souls

6. August 2021In News, Pastor's desk, VisionBy Scotty Williams6 Minutes

Dear Friends,

In our last newsletter there was a post (you can read it HERE) about the future of All Souls, and it may have caused some misunderstandings that I would like to address in this letter. As you can well imagine, the Pandemic has dealt a great blow to denominations and congregations around the world, and our denomination and its congregations have felt this blow in many ways. One way has been a loss of finances and members, and All Souls has felt this and tried its best to weather the storm.

At the beginning of 2020 we had good numbers in membership and collections, but as the lock-downs continued these numbers began to decrease. In response, we, like all other Churches, have had to make continual adjustments and readjustments, and the post in our recent newsletter was a call to do this once again. The truth is that traditional models of Church have become less suitable in the wake of COVID-19, and we must change with the times to carry on as a worshiping community.

So with all that said, here is what comes next for All Souls…

Is The Pastor Resigning?

Since the end of our planting phase in November 2018, I have openly stated that one of my goals was to prepare All Souls for a time without me. Though we pastors love the congregations we serve we (with the exception of a very faithful few) do not stay forever, and before the Pandemic I felt that my time at All Souls might be coming to an end. This feeling became stronger at the beginning of this year, and after months of prayer and discussions with mentors, colleagues, and cantonal Church leaders my family and I felt that it was indeed time to go.

Therefore, I have notified our Council that I will resign, and my service as the pastor of All Souls will end on November 30th of this year. It was not an easy decision to make, for it has been a marvelous adventure in planting and serving a Church with you, but there is a need for new leadership with a fresh vision that it might carry on and thrive.

Is The Church Closing?

During our planting phase we were solely supported by our cantonal Church, and since becoming an Association we have been supported by a group of donor Churches. We are grateful to these fellow Reformed communities for helping us became a recognized congregation, and for supporting us through the worst parts of the Pandemic. Each committed to three years of financing our community, and on November 30th these three years are up and most of them can no longer support us. They have also experienced a loss of members and resources, and they must also focus on adjusting to the new world that COVID-19 has brought about. Furthermore, we are not the only ministry that they have been supporting, and other communities will have to face the future without their support.

In the meantime, the doors of All Souls will remain open, but we will use the coming months ahead to look for alternative ways of continuing and financing it. Our donors and cantonal Church have been looking for these things as well, and in the days ahead we will focus our efforts on assuring a good future for All Souls.

Fear Not

As I think about what comes next for All Souls I also think about what is next for me, and unlike other times of transition, this one brings some extra fear. In this transition, I face the unknown as a husband and a father, and the question of supporting a family looms over my head like a heavy cloud. Nevertheless, my favorite verse from the book of Isaiah comes to mind, and it breaks through like a sunbeam in a dark storm passing over. It says:

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.  – Isaiah 41:10

My prayer for our congregation is that we would not fear in the days ahead, and that we would not be dismayed as the question of what comes next looms over us. May we know that God is with us charting the course that we should go, and He will strengthen us and help us as the answers we seek become clear.

Grace and Peace,

–Pastor Scotty