Dear Cross of Hope Siblings in Christ,
As many of you have heard, my sermon last Sunday focused on the work, meaning, and process of faithful discernment. This became the central theme in that message in part because our Old Testament reading (1 Kings 3:5-12) revolved around King Solomon’s request for the gift of wisdom and discernment, but also because Christ has been guiding me along a path of deep faithful discernment throughout the past many months. In that respect, I can’t help but acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit in the assignment of this text landing on a week involving such deep discernment for me personally. It was truly a gift for me to be able to share a message with you about the prayerful process of faithful discernment that I have recently found myself so deeply immersed in.
For many months now, I have been following Christ’s lead down a path of dedicating myself to two distinct vocational calls. The two calls to which I am referring are: firstly my call to serve as the pastor of Cross of Hope Lutheran Church and more recently, my call to walk alongside, advocate for, and support Asylum Seekers whom God directs to the United States as they seek asylum from the circumstances of their forced displacement. In the past months, the Holy Spirit has made it clear to me that I am no longer meant to split my focus between these two calls, but instead to dedicate my full self to one of them. I am writing this letter to you today because I believe God in Christ has answered my questions of discernment, and placed before me a new call and path to follow.
When I first started at Cross of Hope 6 years ago, I regularly received questions about how long I had intended to stay, and my answer was always the same. “I promise to stay here as long as God hasn’t called me somewhere else.” That said, as a continuation of my work with the Hostel for Seeking Souls (www.hostelforseekingsouls.org) ELCA ministry exploration, I recently received an invitation to join the team of an ecumenical non-profit organization, the International Association For Refugees (www.iafr.org/msp), and after much deep, intentional, prayerful discernment, I believe I have heard—through this invitation—God’s call for me to move on from Cross of Hope and dedicate myself to the work of helping people survive and recover from forced displacement.
While I am excited about the possibilities and ministry God has in store for me on the road ahead, I am also sorrowful that my time as your pastor is coming to an end. Cross of Hope has truly become a church home for not only me, but my whole family. You have embraced us all— Danae, Anja, Junia, Ezra, Cedar, and me—as part of your church family. Please know that we will miss you all dearly, and that you and the future ministry of Cross of Hope Lutheran Church will remain in our prayers, as you learn to bless and be blessed by new pastoral leadership along your road ahead.
Regarding the timing of this announcement, I have felt incredibly conflicted about even considering leaving in the midst of such an uncertain time of global pandemic. But, as I search my heart for where I know God is calling me, and have tried to consider what timing would be in Cross of Hope’s best interest, I have come to believe that the kind of interim this global pandemic has forced upon us may actually provide a natural opening for a time to be ministered by an interim pastor. As such the executive committee and I have determined that my last day will be on Sunday, August 23rd. Please know that I am open to any questions or conversations you may have as we turn this corner down separate roads. You have all made an incredible impact on me in the last six years and you will remain in my prayers.
Pastor Jason Lukis