Gratitude and New Beginnings: A Message from Rev. Linda Jaramillo
At the conclusion of the month, on the occasion of her tenth anniversary, Rev. Linda Jaramillo will retire as Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries and Officer of the Church. Here she shares her reflections on her time as a leader within our denomination, her plans for the future, and expresses her gratitude for the opportunity to serve along side the many dedicated justice advocates in the United Church of Christ.
While January is traditionally known as the New Year, September is also a time of new beginnings. It is a month when most of our schools welcome students back to the next phase of their learning journey. It is a time of homecoming celebrations in many of our churches as we launch new and renewed educational ministries, worship plans, and justice work. After a month-long summer recess, Congress ramps up their deliberations on critical matters that require key policy decisions that affect the nation. In other words, we hit the ground running with anticipation, excitement, and some trepidation.
Past Septembers have felt that way; however, this year is especially significant for me. At the conclusion of the month, on the occasion of my tenth anniversary, I will retire as Executive Minister of Justice and Witness Ministries and Officer of the Church. My life has been deeply enriched by my church experiences, as a laywoman in the pews for many years leading up to my election by our General Synod in 2005 and subsequent ordination as a clergywoman. I have been powerfully moved by the passion, and commitment UCC advocates, who prayerfully struggle with the complex demands of our call to engage in social justice within our beloved church, which holds this calling at its very core.
As an experienced Latina leader, who has yet more to learn, I want to focus the next phase of my ministry career in support of an enthusiastic and brilliant cohort of diverse leaders, preachers, teachers, and prophets like each of you who demonstrate passion and commitment to this justice on a daily basis.
I plan to return to Portland, Oregon following my retirement, where I plan to spend more time with my family and community, especially my five beautiful and brilliant grandchildren! Their future and the future of all our children are my highest priority, therefore, I will continue the work of justice and peace with an expectation that we can and must create a world that is fit for them.
It is impossible to express in words how deeply grateful I am for the immeasurable blessing to serve God through this incredible ministry serving the United Church of Christ. We can never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit to renew and recast our lives when we least expect it. So I will hit the ground running with anticipation, excitement and some trepidation.
Signing off in solidarity and peace,
Rev. M. Linda Jaramillo