Farewell Letter (Marty Kelly)

May 5, 2003

Dear Family of Friends,

Early in my ministry I learned that saying good-bye to dear friends is a part of life on this side of eternity. When Bonnie and I left Peru almost two years ago it ripped our hearts out as we said farewell to our brothers and sisters in the Lord. Some had been our fellow missionaries, families we had served beside our entire 13 years in Peru; others were men and women we had won to the Lord, discipled and sent into ministry. As difficult as it was to say good-bye, Bonnie and I were comforted by the fact that God is God, and He has a purpose for our lives and for those we left behind.

This past Sunday I announced to our church that we will soon say good-bye to one of our families. Pastor Marty Kelly has accepted a position with Pastor David Nelms in West Palm Beach, Florida, and his final Sunday with us will be May 18. As I shared with the church on Sunday, selfishly, I would love to see Marty stay at Grace for the rest of his career. Never in my life have I worked with a man who was so compatible with me. Marty always understood where I was heading with a sermon, and used the worship time to lay the red carpet for the message from God’s Word each Sunday. I hate to see Marty and Sheila go, but again, I am comforted by the realization that God is God, and He has a purpose for Marty and a purpose for Grace Church, and my faith is in the Lord.

Marty has accomplished many things during his six-year ministry at Grace, including the establishment of a highly qualified Magnification Ministry Leadership Team. Each area of ministry, from leading worship to the choir and orchestra, to the hand bells and drama ministry, will be under the qualified leadership of someone from the Leadership Team. Many of these groups will take their normal summer break and be ready to go in the fall.

At the same time, the Elders are aggressively looking for a new Magnification Pastor. I cannot give you any timeline on this process. We would like to get someone in place even this Summer, but it is more important to get the right man than to simply fill the position.

You will have an opportunity to say good-bye to Marty and Sheila and their family on Sunday evening, May 18. Please make every effort to be a part of this special service as we honor this dear family for their investment into the people and ministries of Grace Church.

Finally, let me encourage you to add three items to your prayer list: First, Praise the Lord for His continual work and leading in our church. We are so thankful that God continues to bless Grace during times of change and that He is our Great Shepherd and Comforter. Second, please pray for Marty and Sheila and their family as they move from Des Moines to West Palm Beach. Ask the Lord to comfort them as they deal with their own emotions and empower them as they begin a new ministry at a new church. Finally, pray for our new Magnification Pastor. Pray that God will guide our Elders as we seek the right man, and ask God to begin preparing the heart of this man as he moves his family to Des Moines.

As your pastor, I want to thank you for your faithfulness to the Lord and for your increasing desire to do His will and to live your lives for His glory. It is such and honor to lead you in the service of our Lord as we seek to build the body of believers at Grace by reaching the lost of Central Iowa, growing in our maturity as believers, ministering to the hurting in our community, and magnifying the precious Name of Jesus Christ.

God Bless You,

Phil Winfield
Senior Pastor

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