January 9, 2017

Dear Members of First Parish Church,

I have served at First Parish Church, Congregational for thirty-seven years.  During my tenure, I have always believed in the strength of our community and its congregational way of life.  The church community is the primary place to experience God’s grace and goodness. Our church presently is strong financially, programmatically and has never had a richer missions program and outreach.  I am grateful for the trust and faith the community has always shown in supporting me as pastor.

Over the past year I have been considering my role at First Parish Church and what the future should hold.  After much conversation and support from our church leadership and from my wife, Marilyn, I have come to the conclusion it is a good time for me to step down as your minister and seek a new calling from God in a part-time ministry.

Change is hard, yet, looking back over my time in Manchester-by-the-Sea I realize how much change we have weathered together with God’s inspiration and guidance.  It is with assurance and faith, that I trust God will see both First Parish Church and my family through to bright futures.

This transition will take several months and I expect it will be seamless because of the confidence I have in our church and its leadership.  Though worries and concerns will surface in the upcoming months, I am certain our church is in a strong position to meet any challenge.

So much has changed in the thirty-seven years I have served as your pastor, but one thing has not changed – – God’s continuing love.  I believe that love, God’s love, will sustain us all in the months ahead.

Yours in Faith, Rev. John G. Hughes