Gracias: It has been an honor to serve among you.
Like all things there is a beginning, a middle and an end. The lights are dimming on my time among you. Soon, the Reverend Molly Carlson, newly elected Settled Conference Minister, will team with you and others to move the Light of God forward. I know Molly. She will be a gift to the conference.
It has been an honor to serve among you. I thank you for your love, support, and profound welcome. And James and I am are most grateful for how you embraced me during an excepted and unwelcome journey towards open heart surgery.
My time here has been joyful, frustrating, and challenging. I have had the time of my life. That does not mean that I embraced or enjoyed the political nature of the Illinois Conference or how a few people seem to enjoy creating chaos an in attempt to separate and divide you. I have, however, enjoyed meeting you, being in your congregations, having coffee, desserts, or a meal together. I am in awe of you and the gift that you are and have been with me. May you laugh more, celebrate and dance as God desires.
Let me repeat what I have been saying for the last two years. There is no them and us. There is only us. You are the Illinois Conference. If you do not like the direction of the conference then it is time to stand up, speak your truth and give your time, talent, and treasury to make sure that “we” are leading and not just a few. Apathy is not an option.
This conference needs, as I stated, a few issues ago in this E-Blast, a generational change of conference, executive and association leadership. If you choose to sit on the sidelines, then you have no right to complain as you have given your power to others to have their will be done. Do not let others make decisions for you. Claim your voice.
I enjoyed our time together. I was clear in what my role was as an Interim who was charged with doing an overall assessment of the conference, our structures and to help the conference move from where it was to where it needs to be.
I get it. You loved the changes that did not impact you and were not so thrilled with others. That is the nature of the beast and the role of the Interim. I was asked to shake things up. We did and the conference is stronger today than when I first walked into the door. Yet, we are nowhere close to the end of the changes that are needed. Change must continue if you are to be a viable conference.
From day one, I shared with leadership that I would be a truth teller. I shared with the conference leadership, associations, and many committees that I would be the guy holding the mirror of truth before you, as the People of God. Avoiding hard issues is always easier than dealing with the real issues facing the Illinois Conference. It is time for you to claim your power and leadership. Do not leave it to others to fix the issues before us. You are needed at the table. Your voice is needed. Your wisdom is essential.
As I turn off the lights of my office and leave Chicago, I ask your forgiveness for the mistakes that I have made. I acknowledge that there were some. I trust that you know that every decision that I made, or the team made was made in the best interest of the long-term sustainability of the Illinois Conference. I love you and desire the best for you.
I forgive you. You know who you are. Life is much too short to stay stuck or to focus on the negative. To you who supported our transformational work, I thank you. For those of you who created stories in your attempt to define a persona that I am not, I forgive you. Grace abounds. Go live your lives. Embrace life by giving energy rather than focusing on negative energy.
Oh, by the way, do not do the same thing to Molly. Cut her a break and truly be the church as you journey together into the future.
Lights off. Fade to black. Justo has left the building.
Rev. Justo González, II
Interim Conference Minister
Ministro de la Conferencia Interino
PS: For those of you who have sent friend requests to my new Facebook page, I have not and cannot accept those. Feel free to reach out in a couple of years.