An Open Letter to the Ithaca Vineyard

We goofed, and I understand why some of you are frustrated. Sadly it wasn’t our first time messing up, and despite the fact that I only have 2 months left here at the Vineyard, it most likely won’t be my last.

As we have done for years, we are holding a Good Friday Service this Friday. (6pm in case you were wondering). Our first big goof was that we should have started announcing this a few weeks ago…we didn’t. We compounded our error when we failed to announce it during the first service this past Sunday.

It was during the closing moments of the service, as James was dismissing everyone when several of us had that “Uh-oh,” moment and realized our omission. We made sure we announced it in the second service and decided to send out an email announcement on Monday.

I hope nobody thinks we put work and effort into putting on something like a Good Friday service and then figure out how best to ensure that as few people as possible attend. Or, that we just don’t like the people in the first service, and this was our plan to keep them away…although there is that group in the 4th row 🙂

While I don’t want to make excuses I do feel that I need to explain a few things because the likelihood is that thing like this may increase, rather than decrease over the next 6 months or so…

Back in January, we talked about how life feels in the midst of transition. We discussed that although we all handle it differently, one of the common themes in transition is chaos. I was talking with one of our leaders recently and we discussed that no matter how much you are aware of what goes on in transition, it is another thing altogether to actually have to live through and experience it. (Although I’m guessing we’d all agree ‘living through’ is the best option!)

For my family, not only are we preparing to move to another country, we are working diligently to ensure that the Ithaca Vineyard is in a good place going into the next phase of this transition. Additionally, I am preparing to go through a pretty intense jaw surgery on the 13th of this month (I thought everyone in the church knew, but learned this week that they did not.) I will be out of commission for a week…on a liquid diet for 5 weeks afterwards, and soft foods for a while after that. As you might guess, that adds another level of stress to life at the Wilson’s.

To top it off, not only were Elizabeth and I both sick last week, two of our kids were quarantined since it was suspected they had whooping cough (thank fully they didn’t!).

I could go into other stuff, but you get the idea. The fact is that there is currently a lot in our lives that is falling through the cracks right now. By extension, that means much of what we do is now falling on the other leaders and office staff, and with them having to pick up much of our slack, their plates are also becoming a bit too full as well.

Add to that, while I think the transition plan we have in place for the church going forward (which we’ll share on the 22nd of April) is solid, this will be a learning experience for all of your leaders, and none of them will do everything perfectly, with zero missteps.

Back when we first announced this upcoming transition, and again when we talked about it in January, I mentioned that part of the process will be that we will have times where we drive each other a bit crazy…just another byproduct of the stress of transition…and simply asked that we do what should come naturally to followers of Jesus…have a lot of grace for one another.

Without question, we should have done a better job making people aware of the Good Friday service….all we can do is ask for forgiveness and grace. (I’ve likely done, or not done other things that you expected of me in the past several weeks…again, all I can do is ask for forgiveness and grace.)

Going forward, the team of people leading the Vineyard through the upcoming transition, will need your prayer, your encouragement, and your grace. Times like these are ones that can cause division and all types problems that can rip a church apart. These are also times that can draw a church together in incredible ways as we lean on the Father, and allow His grace to flow from each of us toward one another.

4 thoughts on “An Open Letter to the Ithaca Vineyard

  1. I forgive you, Bob! Relax man. You’re an incredible pastor and a great friend. Many other pastor I know have also made mistakes. Even I once made a mistake. =)

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