Sunday, April 30, 2017
Dear Fourth Church Family,
I want to share with you news about the ways that God is leading me in ministry. I have accepted a call to serve as Pastor and Head of Staff at Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church in Sunnyvale, California, a call that was confirmed by congregational vote on Sunday, April 30.
In 2011 I returned to this community of Fourth Presbyterian Church to serve as the Associate Pastor for Evangelism and Young Adults because God was revealing to me exciting opportunities to work with you to welcome persons who had never felt valued by a fellowship of Christians before. I believed that the open ways in which you accepted the passions and concerns of people of all ages and backgrounds would empower and free me and my partners to build community that was vital and strong.
In all of these things, I was not disappointed. I witnessed the ministry of Jesus Christ furthered in the ways you’ve received the stories of people from down the street and around the world. I felt the moving of God’s Spirit as busy young professionals set aside work and social demands to gather for repeated days of meals and worship to mark the journey of Holy Week. I am confident that the same warm welcome and supportive community that called me into your midst will continue to be at the heart of your identity in years to come.
Sunnyvale is located in Silicon Valley and has experienced an explosion of diversity. It is a church seeking to welcome new populations into their ongoing work and to find new ways of being faithful in a rapidly changing world. The lessons I learned among you—particularly about how to witness to God’s love without turning away from the realities of the world—will be essential resources for me as I help to address the challenges that now face Sunnyvale Presbyterian. I find I can trust the sense of God’s call to this new ministry because of what I experienced in your midst.
As excited as I am for what lies ahead, I know that I will grieve losing the shared ministry and relationships I have been blessed to enjoy here at Fourth Church. I wish to express my gratitude to all who journeyed with me in service—people who helped me extend welcome to newcomers and connect emerging members; young adults who cooked meals with me on retreat; servants and singers on mission trips to places like Iowa, Ireland, Cuba, and the United Kingdom; enthusiastic catalysts for community connection at tailgate communions and barroom hymn-sings that declared our openness to the world. The spirit of fun and friendship at Fourth Church has sustained me.
I also wish to express particular thanks to the staff at Fourth Church, particularly to our pastor, Shannon Kershner. I am forever indebted to her for her mentorship and good-humored collegiality. I particularly regret that I will not be a part of the visionary new forms of witness to the good news of Jesus that are already coming to life under her leadership. I will continue to be inspired and awed by God’s love-made-flesh in all of you, from afar.
In the days ahead I hope to celebrate the gift of good ministry that we have enjoyed together and to say good-bye. I will be preaching at the 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. services on Sunday, May 21 and, finally, on June 25. I will continue to be regularly present at our 4:00 p.m. jazz communion service. My final Sunday here at Fourth Church will be on July 2.
Thank you for having allowed me the blessing and honor of being your partner in ministry and for having granted me the gift of your friendship.
With deep gratitude and in Christ’s peace,
Hardy H. Kim
Associate Pastor for Evangelism and Young Adults
• • •
Dear Fourth Church Friends,
I join you in wishing Hardy a fond farewell as he and his family begin this exciting next chapter in their lives. Hardy has been an invaluable part of our clergy team. His insightful mind, his curiosity-filled questions, his quick smile, and his amazing hospitality have helped to make us, the staff of Fourth Presbyterian Church, who we are. I am personally very grateful to Hardy for the way he immediately welcomed me on to the staff and has been such a tremendous support in these beginning years of my ministry with you. I will miss Hardy terribly, but I know that his new congregation in Sunnyvale will benefit from this same faithfulness as we have. They have no idea the kind of gift they are receiving in Hardy.
Hardy first arrived here at Fourth Church as a Pastoral Resident in 2006. And then we got to welcome him back to this congregation in 2011 as the Associate Pastor for Evangelism. In addition to his ministry with Discover Fourth and our new membership process, Hardy has also been a strong leader and staff presence for our young sdult community. Many of our new members are young adults, and I have no doubt that is in part due to Hardy and his work.
As Hardy prepares to wrap up his ministry here with us, the Fourth Church Personnel Committee is preparing to search for a temporary supply pastor to serve on a contract basis—similar to what Nanette Sawyer has done since Joyce Shin accepted a call to Swarthmore Presbyterian Church—to take on those responsibilities Hardy has tended in his role here, specifically new members, young adults, and worship leadership at our weekly Jazz at Four service. Covering Hardy’s position in this way on a temporary basis will allow the Personnel Committee some time to review the job description and responsibilities before we take the eventual next step of calling a new Associate Pastor.
Before Hardy leaves, you, as a congregation, also have a particular role to play in the process: acting to dissolve the pastoral relationship between Hardy and Fourth Church. We will do that on Sunday, July 2 at a congregational meeting called by Session for 12:15 p.m., after which we will gather for a reception to celebrate all that Hardy is and has meant to us. It will be our time to say thank you to him and to send him on his way, with blessing upon blessing, into this new call and great adventure for him and his family.
So please plan to be with us on July 2. And in the days and weeks ahead, please join me and your Session in holding Hardy, Hyunjung, Jonah, Haeil, and Sunnyvale Presbyterian Church in prayer in their time of transition and of living into a new and exciting future.
Shannon J. Kershner