Thursday, June 20, 2013

An "Official Announcement" and a very humble "Thank you, Church!!"

Dear FUMC-Grapevine Church members and friends . . . 

Two years ago, I was extended the honor of being invited to come serve as a member of the summer Chaplain Corps at the Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, New Mexico, the largest outdoor youth camp in the world.  To say the least, this is a great honor to myself and to the church I am proud to serve, the First United Methodist Church of Grapevine, Texas.  I initially thought that my going to serve as a chaplain  at Philmont during the summer would be out-of-the-question.  Being away from the church and family for so long just didn't seem realistic to me.  I was very comfortable with my yearly trip to Philmont to serve as chaplain for the week-long Fall Leadership Conference held there each September.  A week away was far more manageable.

Then . . .  I got cancer. 
I have to admit, my cancer battle took far more out of me than I realized, and it lasted a lot longer than I expected it to.  There are still some physical side-effects from the cancer and treatment that  I am dealing with, which I am told can linger for a year or so.  Age, maturity and my past experiences providing pastoral care to others going through cancer helped me to realize that at some point in the process,  I was going to need a break.  
After receiving a “disease free” report from my oncologist, I was encouraged to approach Rev. John Mollet , our Senior Pastor, and our Staff-Parish-Relations Committee at the church about the possibility of my be granted leave during the upcoming month of July for some renewal time, and to serve as a chaplain at Philmont.  John offered his encouragement and support, and the SPRC graciously granted my request. I will be forever grateful to them for allowing me to experience this unique opportunity.

So, I would like to "officially announce"  that I will be leaving for New Mexico after the close of VBS on Friday, June 28th.  I will serve at Philmont, with endorsement from FUMC-Grapevine (all chaplains at Philmont must have an endorsement), from July 1 – 26.  I will be leading and/or preaching at Protestant Chapel services each evening, in addition to Sunday afternoon ecumenical services at the Philmont Training Center.  I will also get to help lead the Tuesday and Thursday morning sunrise services at the Training Center, a tradition I helped to start there 3 years ago.  Along with other chaplains, I will be responsible for the spiritual needs of all campers, volunteer adults leaders, and Philmont staff members.  My responsibilities will also include counseling and conflict management/resolution, delivering the mail and emergency messages, and being a 1st responder for various situations as they arrive and as needed.

For those wondering . . . Chaplains at Philmont usually put in 10-12 hour days at a minimum. 

I can't wait!!!!

Liz will join me on July 27th, so we can enjoy together the remainder of my leave time.  I plan to be back for worship on Sunday, August 4th.

It has been my honor and privilege to serve on the pastoral staff of this grand church for the past 8 years.  I hope and pray to be able to return from time away with fresh eyes and renewed energy for my next 8 years here.

I do not have the words to express my appreciation for this opportunity, other than to humbly say, "Thank you!"

As time permits . . . I will occasionally post a blog article or two during this experience.

For more information about Philmont Scout Ranch, please go to

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>


1 comment:

Dennine Christian said...

I am excited for you Pastor Rick. With your passion and strength, I know you will touch everyone of those kids as God will instruct and guide you as well. we will miss you and I will be saying a prayer for you each and every day.

May God bless you,

Dennine Christian