My dear community,
At Vox’s covenant member meeting last week, I announced that I will end my time as the pastor of worship and liturgy at the end of this year. I was 22 years old when I was first invited to join a team of naive, yet energetic and loving fools to help birth a church out of a ragtag college ministry and had no idea I would then spend the next 21 years having the joy of sharing life with all of you.
For that, no words will encapsulate how much each of you mean to me – you’re the reason I stayed up late on Saturday nights cleaning and setting up wherever Vox called itself home and got up every Sunday early morning to help bring our voices together in prayer and song, all through unimaginably difficult times and forever memorable joyful ones. It’s been an honor serving alongside and walking with you through these 20 plus years. You’ve shaped my twenties and thirties for the better, but now, I’ve realized a need for change and perhaps some rest. This is a decision I wrestled with for a handful of years now, and coming out of difficult staff transitions in 2020 and hurtful relational traumas gave me clarity and a need to rediscover my creative voice and identity that got a bit lost through these decades of ministry.
Yet, I want to be clear that Jen, Fjola, Lincoln, and I are not leaving Vox. Jen and I covenanted to be in community with you through both good and hard times and will continue finding ways to participate alongside you. (Jen can’t wait to have me sign up to teach Greenhouse classes already.) We are all part of ecosystems in our lives, and I want to do my role in providing as soft a landing as possible with my resignation from staff.
We have a fellow Vox covenant member, Brandon Kinder, already in mind to lead a good number of our liturgies well into 2023, and I will overlap with him while I’m still on staff for the remaining 3 months. I will also continue figuring out ways to spread out/reimagine my liturgy responsibilities however possible so that they do not solely fall on Weylin and Christopher, nor our staff and nav team. They’ve continued being incredibly measured, loving, and gracious when I first shared my news with them back in late August, and I can’t say enough about that.
For those in Austin and consider yourselves active at Vox, I encourage you to continue exploring meaningful opportunities to participate and shape our beautiful, amazing community, especially in this transitional season our community is in. If I may ask, also consider finding ways to support Weylin, Christopher, and our Navigation and Staff teams as they lead us along with their partners and spouses for they’re all in a sense, as involved as much as staff are. I’m incredibly grateful to have an amazing partner and wife who’s supported me through everything. You may want to give our pastors and leadership team some time to find their new rhythm before reaching out to them. Again, I will still be here these next few months to help work through my departure, and the best way to support Vox is to find a place where you can participate whether that be in liturgy, our local partnerships, community team, greenhouse, or anything.
Thank you for supporting me and my family as I tried to lead you these many years. We all have Vox to thank for connecting our lives together. I’m truly excited to see where God is leading us next. We’ve got a damn good team leading our church, but it takes all of us to be a vibrant, healthy one. To simply say I’m grateful wouldn’t suffice, but it’s what I can offer and express now.
May we learn, may we love,
may we live on.
We make room for the unexpected,
may we find wisdom and life
in the unexpected.
May we support, may we listen,
may we change.
We resolve to live life in its fullness:
We will welcome the people who’ll be part of this day.
We will greet God in the ordinary and hidden moments.
we will live the life we are living.
May we find the wisdom we need,
may we hear the needs of those we meet,
May we love the life we are given,
God be with us.
~ Pádraig Ó Tuama
Love you all,