Char and I have talked about this for months. A couple of times I think I succeeded in persuading her that staying was best. But this time she was more sure about the wisdom of returning to public school teaching. She said she wanted to offer her resignation to the C.E. Board on March 21 and the Council of Deacons on March 22. It was late at night. I penned this note to her before going home.
I must leave a brief note and will write much more later. My heart aches at this severing which I rejoice is not a severing! I have resolved not to pressure you more than I have. You would make a great contribution, as you have! I can’t think of a better person. I trust the sovereign Lord that your ministry will even be more strategic in the future. This is not an official acceptance of your resignation. It’s an overflow late at night. More later. I love you. John.
I have said more than once over the years that I count Char an indispensable counselor in my ministry. I still do. And I still will—she’ll still be at Bethlehem! Thank the Lord!
Under her direction the ministries to children have flourished and deepened. She has spent herself exceedingly for the good of our little ones and for their parents! But Char has dreams of ministering unencumbered after retirement in ways that make the retirement provision of her public school teaching (with its “final five years” clause) strategic in her planning. Who knows, maybe we will have her back in some exciting new role in five or six years!
I will let her speak for herself in the following letter to the C.E. Board and Council of Deacons:
After spending several months evaluating my ministry at Bethlehem and assessing my future, I have decided to resign from my position as Minister for Children as of July 25, 1988.
This was not an easy decision to make and I leave with a variety of feelings. My time as Minister for Children has been exciting, fulfilling and challenging. I could not even imagine a greater group of people with whom to work. But, I have decided for a number of reasons to leave and return to my position as teacher in the Minneapolis Public Schools.
I will, in the next few years approach the age when I can draw retirement benefits. My continued teaching in Minneapolis will better prepare me, not to retire, but to change my full time focus to some type of missionary work.
I do not plan to leave Bethlehem. This is where my heart is. My prayer is that God has a place for me to fill here that will bring Him much glory.
Remaining in partnership with you as long as God permits.
Char will be working hard now (as always!) in the next three months to help us get ready to survive without her (full-time!) help. The staff and boards will be discussing the emerging staffing need. We invite your input.
With deepest thanks to Char for her partnership,