It has always been my hope that, by giving everything I can in ministry, I can make things a little better for those who come after me. By the grace of God and the support of the saints of this region, people like you, the Christian Church in Illinois and Wisconsin is in a healthy place for ministry.
When I met you many years and miles ago, I talked about how our faith in Jesus was our connection. There might not have been anything else we had in common—but our faith in Jesus was and is enough.
I give thanks for the Light that shines in you as we remember whose we are together.
Since then, our ministry has been guided by our regional vision: “To be a radically welcoming Region of connected Disciples congregations, radiating the Creator’s love, continuing Christ’s mission, and following the Spirit’s call”— sharing in the life-changing and life-giving ministry of God in our world.
With this vision and common faith, we have: released friends to new ministries; supported emerging ministries; re-structured to make way for ministry; balanced our budget; hosted and were hosted by our friends in Guatemala; encouraged deepening of spiritual life through retreats, camps, conferences; stabilized and enhanced Camp Walter Scott; launched a School for Ministry to train and support lay and clergy leaders; developed a communication ministry just in time for a pandemic; and, welcomed a partnership with Michigan Disciples. We have also called a new regional ministry team to help us carry out this Vision and Mission. You are blessed by gifted, talented, faithful, and diverse regional staff and regional volunteers who tend to our life together.
We are not the same region we were on August 1, 2010. So much has changed intentionally. And so much has changed that we did not foresee, but that God has carried us through.
Personally, I have grieved my mother Joyce, my husband Al Parker, my father Wayne. I have watched my sons grow into their own adulthood in awe of their view of the world. Amazingly, I met a retired Episcopal priest in Paris, not ever intending to meet anyone, and my life has been filled with new adventures, laughter and joy.
Now, it’s time for me to step away from this blessed calling of service in regional ministry.
I am writing to share with you my intent to retire, September 1, 2023 after 13 years and one month of service in Illinois and Wisconsin. Over the coming months, my work will focus on completing this call well by empowering our team, finishing up my tasks, sharing the blessings, and making way for your next regional minister.
Our Regional Church Council, led by our Moderator Rev. Timothy Kim will be appointing a search committee soon. Rev. Terri Hord Owens has been informed and we will follow the Executive Search Process model. A Regional Minister Search Consultant from the College of Regional Ministers will be assigned by my colleague Rev. Pamela Holt, Regional Minister of Oklahoma, to guide the process.
Forty years ago, I was ordained into Christian ministry by the faithful Disciples in Muskegon, MI. All I ever wanted was to be a good pastor—to help the people who would allow me to be their pastor through the dark and difficult moments of life. To give a word of hope, to acknowledge that God is love. That hasn’t changed. It is, though, time to give my benediction.
“I thank God for you Christians at Philippi (Illinois/Wisconsin) whenever I think of you. My constant prayers for you are a real joy, for they bring back to my mind how we have worked together for the Gospel from the earliest days until now. I feel sure that the one who has begun his good work in you will go on developing it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 JB Phillips translation
Rev. Dr. Teresa Dulyea-Parker
Congratulations!! I pleased for you and so grateful too!
Congratulations Teresa! May retirement bring you joy and fulfillment! I am recalling hor our paths crossed in MI. Blessings to you as you complete you ministry!