We have days of change and challenge ahead of us, and we get to not like it. We get to not like letting go of Margaret as our pastor. We get to not like doing things for ourselves that she did for us. There will be lots of chances to live into our faith and practice of Community, and we will find the dedication, compassion and hope for one another and with each another, to get on with the work of living through change. And we might even like some of these. I have witnessed the work of Spirit to see the Quaker phrase “way opens” in action. I believe that we will work together through the next chapter of New Garden Friends Meeting, in love, for way to open. I have such gratitude for Margaret’s ministry with us and the place she helped us get to; let’s see where love will lead us next.
The Meeting on Ministry and Counsel is working with the Personnel Committee to make plans for a search to hire an interim pastoral minister. Deborah Suess is continuing to provide pastoral care through June, and all pastoral care needs will be managed during this time of transition. Members of MMC continue to carry the pastor work phone. If you know of a pastoral care need, please reach out through the work cell phone: 336-338-1986.
Friends have asked about how to show love and care to Margaret, and I have this response from Margaret about sending her cards and messages: I am happy to receive mail and emails. I am not regularly checking my work email anymore, so Friends can send mail to my personal email address: [email protected]. I am also happy to receive cards: 1712 Brookcliff Drive, Greensboro NC, 27408.
Friends, It is with great sadness that I share this letter of resignation from Margaret Webb;
Dear New Garden Friends Meeting,
It has been an incredible journey that we have undertaken together. I feel deeply grateful for the many ways that this community has supported and cared for me and my family in my time here and most especially over the last weeks. Your cards, messages, and meals have brought me so much comfort and it truly makes a difference to know that so many Friends are holding me in the Light. It is with a great mix of emotions that I must share with you all that I am resigning from my role as pastoral minister. I know that this transition may be a difficult one for New Garden and it is my hope that in the coming months that the Meeting will be served by a skilled interim minister and that Friends will provide loving support for one another.
As many of you know I have been on extended medical leave since Easter (April 17th). I have been diagnosed with a rare and serious illness and I have spent many of the last few weeks learning to navigate my life in new ways. I am fortunate to have a wonderful medical team and I am now on a combination of medications that are working. My doctors have told me that there is every reason to believe that I will be able to resume life as normal sometime in the future. However, it is not clear when I will again be ready to return to work. I have come to the difficult decision to step away from my position at New Garden Friends Meeting and to take a season to focus on my health and caring for my family.
It is my hope that I will see many of you around Greensboro in the coming months, and it would
be a gift to me, when we see each other if you could tell me about how you are doing, about your children or your grandchildren, about your pets or how your garden is growing or trips that you have taken recently. I would love to tell you about how my children are doing and how we are settling into our new home or my newest painting project or new poetry that I have discovered. I know that Friends may, understandably, be curious about the details of my illness, but It is a gift to me when I am able to not talk about my health but instead share about the many joys and blessings in my life.
This summer will mark 7 years since I became the pastoral minister at New Garden Friends Meeting. Over the last 7 years I have come to deeply love and appreciate this special things that I have learned during this time. It has been an honor to worship and eat and laugh community of Friends. I feel grateful for the work that we have done together and the many and sing and pray and learn and labor with this community. I have been changed for the better by my time with all of you and I find myself filled with gratitude for each of you.
The first Sunday that I led worship at New Garden Friends Meeting, I shared with all of you a poem by Kaylin Haught entitled “God Says Yes to Me.” The poem concludes with these lines:
“Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes”
It is my firm belief that God continues to say a joyful and exuberant “Yes!” to New Garden Friends Meeting and that the season ahead will be one that is filled with blessings. And although it is not clear in my own life when or if I will return to ministry, I believe that God continues to say “Yes!” within my life as well.
Thank you, New Garden Friends Meeting, for how you have made me feel welcomed. It is my firm belief that another person, perhaps one who is very different from myself, will be led by the Spirit to join this community as a pastoral minister. I know that this person will feel as fortunate as I feel to be in relationship with New Garden Friends Meeting and that you all will extend that wide and warm welcome to that person, just as you have so graciously welcomed me.
With much love and gratitude, Margaret Webb