June 11, 2018
Dear friends of First Presbyterian,
Arriving at FPC Charlotte was a significant change for me in many ways: a new city, a new kind of church in a position I had not had before. But I welcomed the change and the challenge because it was so clear that FPC Charlotte is a special church, full of faithful people ready to serve God in new and meaningful ways. I was thrilled to receive the call and have loved being your pastor in mission.
A year after I began here, I became a single parent, and God blessed me with the gift of adopting Kimberly and Chris. I knew being a single mom would be a challenge but I welcomed that, too, because I knew it was also what God was calling me to do.
In the four years I have served FPC, I have never wavered from my gratitude for being called as one of your associate pastors nor from my gratitude for being a mom to my two kids.
Recently, though, I knew I needed to take a hard look at my life, my priorities and my abilities to serve these two calls faithfully. It has become clear that while my call as Associate for Mission is a beautiful and wondrous thing, it no longer is something I believe I can do well while also being the human being I need to be.
It is not faithful to myself, to you, to my family nor to God to continue to try and “do it all.” This is a comment I heard from so many when I adopted the kids: “I don’t know how you do it all.” The truth is, friends, I never did, and no one can. Sadly, too many of us feel like we are supposed to do it all, and that burden falls heavily onto women. To be a great mother, a great wife, housekeeper, accountant, event coordinator, committee member, church leader and career person. While intended as a compliment, I found the words “I don’t know how you do it all” a reminder that I was not able to do it all and sometimes I felt like an impostor. I was short with my kids too often, forgetting meetings and deadlines, and staying up late trying to catch up on emails. And more often than not what fell to the lowest priority was taking care of myself.
And so it is time to step back and re-examine what God is calling me to do next. I know first and foremost I need to take better care of myself, my family and my faith. I will never be able to thank you all enough for the ways you so beautifully welcomed and have loved my children, Kimberly and Chris. This church has been a home for them and a place where God’s love has been demonstrated to them. That is no small thing.
July 1, I will begin working reduced hours and will conclude my time at First Presbyterian August 31.
The ministry you have ahead of you here at First is exciting and meaningful, and I know God will continue to lead you well.
Friends in Faith –
Today after worship the Session met to receive word of Erika Funk’s resignation. You will find Erika’s letter to you included as part of this communication.
When Erika was called to our church four and a half years ago we knew that her experience in urban ministry, her preaching, and her wide embrace of all of God’s people would help stretch us as a congregation that continues to grow into what it means to serve Christ in the heart of Charlotte.
In my time as her colleague, I have learned a lot from Erika. I’ve heard her ask insightful questions. I’ve watched her practice hospitality. I’ve witnessed her live out her faith.
As she shares her news about needing to step back from her ministry at our church to examine what God is calling her to do next, Erika continues to teach me what it is to live with grace.
Erika’s last day as our Associate for Mission will be August 31. Two of the ways our church has honored those who have served us as a pastor are to have a reception and to collect a free-will offering to express our appreciation. I hope you can join us after worship on Sunday, August 19, as we honor Erika’s ministry. If you want to contribute to an offering that we will present to her that day, you can do so by sending checks to Jan Gaddis at the church office and marking “Erika Funk” on the memo line.
In response to Erika’s news, the Personnel Committee and I have been developing a transition plan to ensure we have leadership and coverage in the ministry areas of outreach and evangelism. While we are in transition, and until we call a new associate pastor, our exceptional staff of Lucy Caldwell (membership), Mary Scott Peterson (ministry teams/outreach), and Heather Herring (child and family outreach) are prepared to flex their work to provide coverage. Our pastoral team will also flex our time to ensure that we have consistent coverage for pastoral care and worship leadership.
I am grateful for the people God calls to serve this church, and I give thanks for Erika’s ministry among us.
In faith, hope, and love –