June 11, 2021
Dear FBC Family:
This May, I completed my seventh year as a member of your pastoral team. My call and passion for ministry throughout this time, has been to help First Baptist, to position ourselves to grow as an invitational church.
Together, as a congregation, we’ve been willing to experiment with new and meaningful ways of sharing the timeless Good News of God’s infinite love. It is inspiring to think about all the ways this wonderful congregation has evolved and grown over these past seven years. This has been particularly true during this pandemic. FBC has retooled again and again, learning how to do virtual worship and programming, while relying on creative ways of staying connected.
It has been a privilege to journey with you as one of your pastors over these seven years. Now, as we move out from the pandemic, and as First Baptist, along with Massachusetts reopens, I feel it is time for me to conclude my ministry with you.
In March I turned 65 and while I still have “gas in my tank,” I will be retiring from pastoral ministry. I’ve been serving as a pastor for 40 years and I am so grateful that God has called me to this life. I’m so grateful that the Spirit led me to FBC in Beverly.
My last Sunday with you will be August 1st. In the remainder of my time with you, I will be working with my pastoral colleagues, staff, and lay leaders to help position us for a full reopening this Fall.
Having come through this pandemic together, we’ve learned some lessons: That God is always faithful. That we are blessed with strong and wise leadership in Rev. Julie Flowers and are blessed too, with the skillset and wisdom of our Virtual Ministry Associate, Rev. Jaimie Crumley. Dr. Esther Chang continues to bring musical excellence and we have a strong support staff.
FBC’s is graced too, with a deep and wide pool of gifted, talented, and committed church members and friends, both new and longtime, who make this congregation such a vibrant place.
I realize that there is no optimal time to leave a pastoral call. Yet, I feel that time has come for me. I know that FBC is strong and positioned well, to live into this new chapter. I believe that even now, God is preparing FBC in Beverly for that which is life-giving.
Tricia and I are grateful for our time with you. For the foreseeable future, we will continue to make our home in Beverly. On August 1st however, I’ll conclude my pastoral role with you.
Over these next several weeks, I look forward to talking with you, hearing your thoughts, and saying a heartfelt “thank you.”
God’s grace and peace be yours.
Rev. Kent Harrop