You learned in a Pastoral Letter earlier this month about the decision of the Rev. Yena Hwang to resign as our Associate Pastor for Christian Formation, effective March 20, 2022. This news came as a shock to many of you, and we are all still processing this huge transition in the life of our church. Yena has been an amazing colleague to me for nine years, and I am grieving this loss both personally and professionally. I am very sad to see her go, but I understand her reasons. Please take the time to speak with Yena about your feelings over the next few weeks. She has served us faithfully and well.
We have the responsibility as a congregation to take action that will make this resignation official in the eyes of the National Capital Presbytery. We will have a Congregational Meeting immediately after the 11:15 am worship service on Sunday, March 20, 2022, to “dissolve the terms of call,” releasing Yena from her duties here at FPC. At the same meeting, we will elect an elder to succeed Terry Stevens, who is moving to New York for work.
Although transitions are difficult, we want to take the time to celebrate Yena’s ministry among us and wish her a fond farewell. Session has authorized the collection of a Love Gift for Yena, and you are invited to contribute (not to be confused with the Christmas Joy Gift offering that goes to the denomination). Please write a check to Fairfax Presbyterian Church with “Yena Hwang Love Gift” in the memo line, or go to the church website, find the “Give” tab, click “Give Now,” and then choose the drop-down option that says “Give to Yena Hwang Love Gift.” Please make your gift before Sunday, March 13, so that we can present Yena with a check on Sunday, March 20.
We will also celebrate Yena’s ministry among us at a gathering that will follow the Congregational Meeting. Please plan on staying for refreshments and a time in which we can express our appreciation to Yena, Rick, Justin, and Nathan for their contributions to the life of our church. Member Connections Ministry and the Deacons are working on the celebration, so stay tuned for details.
We have much to work on as a congregation as we continue to try to be “a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:7) and an Uncommon Christian Community. I am grateful to the church staff members who will be stepping up to fill gaps in Yena’s absence, especially Erin Sanzero and Tempest Brevard, who will take on additional duties in worship leadership and pastoral care. We will need to discern as a congregation what our future staffing should look like, so we will make opportunities for conversations in the months to come. Our presbytery’s general presbyter, the Rev. John Molina-Moore, will help us to start this process when he preaches on the first Sunday after Yena’s departure, March 27.
We have plenty of time to think about the future and plan for it. For now, let’s make opportunities to thank Yena and say good-bye with our love and support.
Henry G. Brinton