The time is now
A message from Pastor Larry:
Three years ago, Megan and I went to a church-planting assessment in Indianapolis. Being assessed as a church-planter is no joke; the process is meant to expose potential planters to stressful and challenging scenarios and experiences and see how they bear up under it, all under the watchful gaze of experienced assessors.
For Megan and me, the process was invigorating, and we were quickly gaining clarity on the question we had been pondering: was God really calling us to serve and love the community of Port Orchard? The moment I’ll never forget from that experience came towards the end of our time there, as the assessors affirmed that calling. I remember looking across the room at Pastor Mark, bittersweet tears filling both of our eyes. I was excited about the prospect of exploring this new calling with Megan, but Mark and I had in our hearts that this meant, eventually, we would no longer serve together in Gig Harbor.
Well, the years have gone by, and while I’ve helped support the church plant as Megan has taken the lead, most of my time has still been given to leading the staff in Gig Harbor as the Executive Associate Pastor. As the plant has begun to come into its own, Megan and I have consistently recalled our experience at that assessment. We’ve wondered when that calling to plant a church together would come fully into being. When would I not only support the church plant, but help lead the church plant? You might have guessed from reading this that, as we’ve been praying and listening over this past year, we’ve sensed that the time is now.
In January, I’ll give my exclusive attention and focus to leading the church plant alongside Megan. I’m excited about this, it feels like what I had been anticipating three years ago. Make no mistake, this is also bittersweet. Of course, we’re only 30 minutes away! But, week by week for nine years now I’ve served and worshiped alongside people in Gig Harbor who are family to me. I’ll miss that daily, weekly experience. I know Megan feels the same way.
I’m grateful for the many, many ways Chapel Hill has supported me and for the growth and experience I’ve had in Gig Harbor, and I know this is just one more way that support is being expressed. Thank you for how much you’ve loved Megan and me, and for your continued love as we work together to birth a new worshiping community!
Pastor Larry Hackman
Chapel Hill Gig Harbor and Port Orchard
A message from Pastor Mark:
I am so excited that Pastors Megan and Larry will now be able to focus their undivided attention on their burgeoning ministry at Chapel Hill Port Orchard. Listening to Larry and Megan, I’m convinced that this IS the right time to transition Larry to Port Orchard. We will celebrate this exciting moment in our 10:00 am single worship service on Sunday, January 2.
I still remember the moment 10 years ago that I first met Larry (and later, Megan) at General Assembly in Baton Rouge. They were networking and I was being courteous. But the minute I encountered them, I called the Chair of our Pastor Nominating Committee and said, “Hold the presses! I have a couple that you’ve just got to meet!” The rest is history. Larry and Megan became, so far as we know, the FIRST clergy couple to serve in an EPC church. And what a gift they have been.
So, as Larry mentioned in his message above, this is a bittersweet moment. But it seems very, very right to all of us.
Obviously, Larry’s departure from the Gig Harbor campus leaves a big hole. Working closely with elders, we have developed a plan to accommodate this change.
Meantime, let’s just celebrate this exciting new chapter in the lives of the Hackmans and Chapel Hill Port Orchard! And for the ensuing few weeks that Pastor Larry is still in Gig Harbor, do reach out to him and say “thanks” and “congratulations!”
Pastor Mark Toone
Chapel Hill Gig Harbor