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A new season is upon us…

Dear family and friends,

I wanted to make a few things public – in writing – just like I did on Sunday morning at First Fire.   Here is the essence of what I shared on Sunday morning:

In late June, we will be starting a new journey of sorts. In my mind, it is a continuation of a journey that was started way back when I walked up front at a small country church here in Winchester and said, “yes to Jesus.”  That decision was followed a year or so later,  by saying yes to the call to vocational ministry at the same church.Two big things to share:1.  We, as First Fire, have received some financial assistance from the conference that will take me from part-time here at First Fire to closer to full time.  The past 6 years, I have done a lot of traveling, and the main form of employment has been outside the church.  This funding will tip the scales in the other direction.  Bottom line:  I will be here with First Fire significantly more than I have been.2.  Also, starting on June 23rd, I will also be appointed Senior Pastor at Trinity United Methodist church here in Winchester.  Before I took this step, I talked to all leadership of First Fire.  This is a part-time appointment, yet it opens up many doors for all to be in ministry to our community.     Our  District’s goals are church health, church collaboration, and church multiplication.   This move I believe is in line with the larger work of the Lexington District.  In the one meeting I have had with Trinity, I have found them both open and willing to move ahead.  They have years of experience and faithfulness.  I look forward to working with them and learning from them.  I am hopeful that there will be a host of ways in which First Fire and Trinity will be in partnership in the days ahead. There will be more details and specifics in the days ahead, but know this now:1.  I will be more present with you all (First Fire) during the week.2.   I will also be shepherding and watching over another church, Trinity.3.  Our key partnerships with Winchester First will not change.There are many things that I hope to come of all of this.  But for now, know this is happening. Remember I am here and will be here at First Fire.   And I will also be there for Trinity.

I would add to what I shared on Sunday a few things that are just big picture things to keep in mind as we head into this transition:

1.   This move, further allows me to invest locally in the churches and the community.  For that fact, I am very excited.  I have roots here in this community, and I want to deepen and expand those. (I have deeply enjoyed traveling with my coaching work with SLI, that will be slowly wrap up as the year winds down)

2.  The United Methodist Church is a connectional church.  We often do not lean into this as we should. This opportunity will give three United Methodist Churches to be ‘connected’ and collaborate in various ways.   So although First Fire will be sharing in ministry with Trinity in the days ahead (some ministry has already been shared through Kid’s club), we will also maintain our partnership/connection with Winchester First.  Our partnership (Winchester 1st and First Fire) with children and youth ministries will continue.  Our sharing in extensive mission work in our community will not change.   Sharing our Wednesday night programming will not change.  So in my head, we (Wincheser First, Trinity, and First Fire) get to share in more Kingdom work across our community with more churches involved.  Win. Win. Win.

3.  Above all things – I believe God is orchestrating this all.

I sincerely believe that God stirs and directs His people.  Our role is to be responsive and responsible.   We are to go where He calls and do what He desires. To that end, I am looking forward to the days ahead.  In my opinion,  the best days are ahead of us.   And that opinion is based on hope, not merely wishful thinking.

Grace and peace to all,

Kevin A. Parido

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