For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.
A time to embrace. I’ve embraced almost all of these things with you these past 27 years and you are my people. My love and respect for each of you really has no bounds. It’s time. Friends, it’s time.
A time to seek. I have submitted my resignation to Bishop Tim Smith and it’s time for a new season in my life. Amidst all the change in my life, especially the past two years, you have been Christ to me and I am forever grateful. I also recognize that all the changes have meant a change in my priorities. My greatest joy in this work has been watching you and, in some small way, helping you thrive. True JOY!
A time to dance. I will be going on leave from call March 1. I’m calling it early retirement although I’m not yet eligible for retirement. For a season I have very little planned. I’m sure the Holy Spirit will be up to something and I’ll discern at that point whether or not it’s time to dance. (Bishop Tim has asked that I contract to manage the Synod Gathering this year and I said yes.)
A time to love. I am forever blessed to have colleagues on synod staff who became family. To Bishops Leonard Bolick and Tim Smith—thank you for your trust, encouragement, and friendship. The song from Wicked, “For Good,” is a perfect way to describe my work family. “Because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” They and you are the hardest part of leaving.
A time to gather together. I need you to know that I am doing well. It was a prayerful, hard decision but it feels right. I’m going to spend time visiting Robert and Maura in Germany or wherever in the world they land. I’ll also be focused on finding land in the Charlotte area to build a home with my sisters as neighbors. I plan to go from favorite aunt to aunt extraordinaire.
I leave you with a quote from my dear late husband. “Some days I wish I knew what God’s plan was; most other days I am glad I don’t know what it is. Either way, all I have to do is live.” That’s a plan and I’ll be doing just that.
I love you all.
Deacon Tammy Jones West
Assistant to the Bishop, NC Synod