There is a Time to Uproot What is Planted…My Resignation from Grace Presbyterian Church in Cookeville

Ecclesiastes 3:2 says, “There is a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.” For over six years, my family and I have been planted in Cookeville, Tennessee, where I have served as the senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church. This past Monday evening, I submitted a letter of resignation to the elders of Grace, in order that I might accept a call as associate pastor at Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church in Ridgeland, Mississippi (outside of Jackson). My transition still has to be formally approved by the Nashville and Mississippi Valley Presbyteries, but the way appears clear for us to transition from Cookeville back to Mississippi in the middle of March.

We are excited about this new stage in our family’s life and ministry, but as you can imagine it is a bittersweet thing to decide to leave the only home our children really know, to leave our church family and friends, and to leave a ministry that has been blessed by the Lord in innumerable ways. We weren’t looking to leave Cookeville when this call was presented to us, but as we have prayed about the possibility of returning to the Jackson area, we believe God has opened a door He desires us to walk through.

One of our primary considerations has been the opportunity to be closer to the majority of our family and old friends. Pear Orchard is the church Elizabeth grew up in, and her parents and sister’s family are still members there. We will be only a few hours away from my family in Louisiana. The senior pastor of Pear Orchard, Carl Kalberkamp, is the pastor who married us back in 2001. John Kwasny, the Director of Christian Education and Children’s Minstry, has been a mentor of mine since college and was my best man in our wedding. Our Jackson connections run deep, and we are looking forward to reuniting with friends there, and forming new relationships with the saints at Pear Orchard.

I am also greatly looking forward to working under Carl Kalberkamp. He has been a pastor I have looked up to for many years, and I can’t wait to labor alongside him and learn from him. I have been a solo and senior pastor for the first ten years of my ordained ministry, and Lord willing I have 30 more years of ministry ahead of me (I just turned 38 last Sunday). So I believe the time is right to transition into an associate position, that I might continue to mature and grow as a pastor for the long haul. I am also anticipating opportunities to be involved in the lives of seminary students at my old seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson. Several students are members and interns at Pear Orchard, and it will be fun to get to help train and counsel these young men and their families as they discern the next steps the Lord has them for them in the future.

Please be in prayer for us. There will be a lot to do before we can move. Fortunately, it looks like we will be able to wait until we move to put our house on the market. But there’s a lot of painting and packing that need to be done between now and the middle of March! Please be praying as well for the saints at Grace. We desire to finish our time here well, and we’ve already been praying for whomever the Lord calls to replace us here.

“There is a time to weep and and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:4), and right now we’re getting to do both at the same time. It’s a strange place to be, smack dab in the middle of people who are sad (in Cookeville) and people who are glad (in Mississippi and Louisiana). We’re both sad and glad, and what what keeps us stable is the fact that God is sovereign. King Jesus moves His servants where He wants them, and we rest in His hands who does all things well.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by The Hodge's on January 17, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Wow! We are shocked, and sad that your leaving Grace but so glad you will be were you feel God is calling you. We love your family so much and God used you in great ways in Cookeville.

    Reply

  2. Posted by eileen on January 17, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    Caleb, Stan and i are praying for you! Gods hand is on you. I saw that in you from a young age. Trust and rest in Him! Much love, the Wereskla’s

    Reply

    • Posted by calebcangelosi on January 17, 2014 at 10:47 pm

      Thanks Aunt Eileen! Great to hear from you. I have been humbled and thankful that by God’s grace Psalm 22:9-10 has seemed to apply to me – “Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.” The Lord used y’all a lot to create that trust when we were young! I’d love to see you again soon.

      Reply

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