The End of an Era

The End of an Era

On September 13, 1987, my first Sunday at Chapel Hill, the choir director asked me to sing a duet with a young Chapel Hill woman. Her name was Kathy Alvestad. I agreed, and it was the beginning of a long and wonderful partnership. In addition to having an angelic voice, it quickly became clear that Kathy possessed real gifts in organization and leadership. What began as a very part-time support role in the music department grew into a leadership position over the entire worship and drama department. For 25 years, Kathy has been my go-to person, not only in worship but in any situation that required wise, experienced leadership from someone who knew the church well. Kathy Alvestad has been a valued ministry leader and a dear, dear friend to me.

Two weeks ago, Kathy came to me with the surprising news that she felt God was calling her to complete her work as a Chapel Hill staff member. I want her to share her sense of call with you in her own words:  

I love details. I love planning. I love brainstorming and the work I do here in helping coordinate our worship experiences at Chapel Hill. But in recent years I’ve begun to recognize I’ve also been missing some things: time with family and my young grandsons, time for traveling, time to plant and grow a big garden… and the list goes on. I always figured I’d eventually get around to those things, so it was easy to ignore the quiet voice calling out to me. God was trying to get my attention, but I was always too busy to answer.  I would drop just about anything to help someone else, but I realize now I was constantly telling the Lord “just a minute… I’ll be right there.” Through a recent series of God-ordained events in my life I finally listened. His call to step out in faith was very clear and I knew it was time. 

With deep peace I shared this news with Pastor Mark. He was gracious, understanding, and excited for me to move on to this next adventure. I admit it isn’t easy to “retire” from full-time ministry but I know this is God’s timing for me. While I will surely miss being in the thick of the details around here, I know there will be new ones I’ll be part of. I’m just not sure what they are yet. But in that I am reminded that He promised to be a light unto my path – not a set of super high beams lighting the way 4 miles down the road! So, I am stepping out in faith and trusting. I know He will be true to His promise and this time, He’s got the details handled.

While I’m looking ahead with excitement, I can’t help but look back with a sense of extraordinary thankfulness. This part of my life’s journey has been incredible in ways that are hard for me to articulate. It has indeed been an amazing ride and I’ve 25 years’ worth of terrific memories to prove it. My partnership in ministry with Pastor Mark, both musical and otherwise, has certainly been one of the great highlights. And oh the stories we have to tell!

Thank you, Chapel Hill, for receiving me, loving me, supporting me, praying for me, and helping me to grow up along the way. What a privilege it has been to serve my church – one I love very much and look forward to continuing to be a part of.   

Kathy’s last day on staff will be April 3. I am pleased to tell you that after that, she will consult with us part time to assist in the hiring and the training of her replacement.  

Please take the time to thank God for Kathy’s service to this church. And please pray that He will raise up the right person to help us move faithfully into a new season of ministry without the incredible leadership of Kathy Alvestad. And, of course, please say thank you to Kathy for all she has meant to us. Kathy… we will miss your leadership so very much!

Pastor Mark