Hello from the Board of Stewards. We met for our April meeting and, of course, the discussion revolved around Pastor Holly Gotelli’s promotion. We congratulate her on this marvelous opportunity even though we are so sad that she is leaving Alamo Heights. She has been a blessing to us as we have navigated the COVID pandemic and the various other issues that we have faced in these past three years. She has done such a marvelous job, and we wish her and her husband Trip all of the best.
The Board discussed the UMC process for the selection of the new senior pastor. The task is the responsibility of Bishop Schnase and District Superintendent Hackett. The Board fully supports them as they work through the process. We will fully support their decision. Alamo Heights has been so lucky over the years. Rev. Jack Hooper was with us for 15 years. Rev. Dr. David McNitzky was here for 24 years. This is so unusual for Methodist churches. From the beginning of Methodism, pastors have been itinerant. The church that I attended as a child changed pastors every three years or so. For Pastor Holly to move at this time is all part of the UMC pattern of pastor movement.
I have chatted with Superintendent Hackett regarding the recruitment of the new pastor and have assured him that the Board is in full support of the process. Our planning is focusing on three things. First, Pastor Dinah Shelly is leaving in a couple of weeks to her new post at Spring Creek UMC. We are celebrating her promotion, thanking her for faithful service and all the wonderful works that she has accomplished with us. We will honor Pastor Holly following this as we prepare to welcome the new pastor. We have been so blessed by her gifts and wish her the best. We will keep you informed of all the activities as they are arranged.
These are a lot of changes in a truly short period. Change is not easy. Please know that the Board is focusing on assisting the Bishop, the District Superintendent, and the congregation in this time. The staff, lay and pastoral, are working with us to ensure the flowing of all activities and functioning of the church. I believe that we will be introduced to the new pastor within a relatively short time. We are committed to creating a welcoming environment for the new pastor. To do this, we will ensure that communications are open to both the district office and the new pastor. Our commitment is to the process and a successful onboarding of the new pastor and family.
In the meantime, please be assured that the work of the church, the staff, and the Board continues as always. We are so blessed with the wonderful talent and commitment to God’s work. Pastor Robert Ortiz closed our meeting with this prayer that assures us of God’s presence as we move through the changes.
“Loving God, you know all things. You know our hopes, our dreams, and our vision for this part of the body of Christ known as Alamo Heights United Methodist Church. You know our strengths and weaknesses. To put it simply, you know us, and so you therefore know what we need.
In this time of expected and unexpected transitions, help us, oh God, to lean into you and to trust your Holy Spirit as you guide us. Help us to join together in a spirit of unity to do the work this church, this Board, and each person is called to so that our witness proclaims the glory of God and lives continually transformed by the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
To God be the glory for the great things God has already done, for the great things God is currently doing, and for the great things God is yet to do through the ministries of Alamo Heights UMC. Amen.”
May the blessings of Christ be on each of you and Alamo Heights UMC.
Chair of the AHUMC Board of Stewards