Latah Valley Transition

June 17, 2011

Dear Friends of Latah Valley:

Grace & Peace in Jesus’ name!

I’m writing to you now with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I have a sense of wondrous expectation about what God’s Spirit wants to do with the church community around the world and with the likes of you and your friends and family. On the other hand, I am sad because our particular New Church Development, known from the start as Latah Valley, has fallen on hard times.

What I mean is that we have not grown numerically over the previous two years (since moving to our present location), and what’s more troubling is that, as pastor, I have been unable to convey my vision for the church with much clarity. For these and other personal reasons I will be asking the Presbytery of the Inland Northwest and the Latah Valley administrative commission to dissolve the pastoral relationship between us. That is, I will finish my last day as Latah Valley’s pastor on June 30.

With this in mind, my hope is to celebrate with you the many fruitful times of ministry that we have shared. In November of 2006, I moved here with my family from Pennsylvania, where Sheryl and I had helped to plant a congregation that chartered in 1999 with over one hundred members. My dream involved doing something similar in Spokane, and with the support of Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church among others, we have put ourselves at risk in witness to the gospel. Some highlights for me include:

• Our very first Easter Sunrise Service in the parking lot near Chaps & Latah Bistro (April, 2007).

• The Emergent Mainline Dialogue hosted at Whitworth University (November, 2007) and our first worship at Moran Prairie (December 9, 2007).

• The Community Garden, A Baptism In Latah Creek, A World Relief Connection.

• The Art Auction At The Threshold (September, 2009 & October, 2010).

• The Live Nativity (December, 2009 & 2010).

Again, it’s important for me to acknowledge the myriad ways that you have jumped in and embraced this work and for the joyful attitude you’ve had throughout our many ups and downs. Like those first century fellowships that endured much persecution, you and I have borne the brunt of everything from economic hardships to communication quagmires. I, for one, have learned a great deal about myself and the tenacious love of Christ Jesus.

Finally, let me encourage you to dream one more time. Dream about, not simply knowing those you already know, but dream about the unreached and the unchurched people who surround us. Simply by virtue of your presence and passion for Latah Valley, I continue to believe that God has called you to share your stories of faith with them. For now I will be pursuing my Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry at Eastern Washington University, and perhaps a little teaching down the road. If we should meet somewhere at worship or in a pub or between the frozen foods and the baking aisles—I pray that we will be able to smile at one another and know that we have attempted “great things” in Jesus’ name, and that there are still many books to be written about all the things that Jesus says and does through us. Thank you.

May the Peace of Christ Be With You Always—

Charles Scott Kinder-Pyle
Friend in Christ

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