Bittersweet

Below is this week’s Direct-from-David email communication from my pastor.  My comments are below.

“There are some events in life and ministry which are bittersweet. I send this to inform you of such an occasion. It is a time I knew would inevitably arrive, although I had hoped it would not come for some time. Paula Stefanovich has notified me that she will soon be departing our staff in order to pursue a national music ministry. (Please see the following letter from Paula.)

Dear Whitewater family, It has been over two years ago since I received a phone call from Pastor David Vaughan. Little did I know that day, this phone call would lead me on one of the most precious journeys of my life. I have been honored to be a part of the ministry at Whitewater. My time here has been full of laughter and yes, a few tears along the way, but just like family, we walked thru all of it … together. You have truly inspired my walk with Christ and I will take each of you with me in my heart as I continue my ‘faith journey’ traveling in the music ministry, standing on your shoulders strong because I know I will never be alone. This decision has been one of the most difficult I’ve ever made for two reasons. One, because like Peter, it means getting out of the boat, but I am confident my faith will not fail me and secondly, because you are living examples of the Love of Christ and because of that, we are forever knitted together in that love. I love you and will miss you all so very much. I hope that together we can celebrate this decision as we all move to what God has in store. This is home to me… and I will be back to check on ya’ll! All my love, Paula

I don’t think there are words which can adequately describe the difference Paula has made to the music ministry at WCCC. She was the perfect match for WCCC at a time when we needed someone with her talent and beautiful spirit the most. And, it is because of her amazing talent and the anointing on her life, that larger doors of opportunity have emerged. So, while we are saddened by her departure, we are also thrilled to deploy her as a chaplain on her own Love Revolution! I believe with all my heart that we are not losing Paula – we are simply releasing her to pursue her dream as we send her out to be a blessing to the church at large. She is running to something, and we choose to rejoice in what God is doing in her life. Although Paula’s last scheduled weekend with us will be April 10th & 11th, she considers Whitewater her church home, which means she will return to lead worship occasionally. She will also do several choir concerts at WCCC each year, such as our Christmas Dessert Theater, Summer concert, Fall Concert, etc. I know Paula no longer being here on a regular basis is very sad news. Believe me, I understand. Remember, though, our loyalty is to a vision and to Jesus Christ – the One Paula has pointed us to so effectively during worship each weekend. And the same God who called Paula here and is now calling her elsewhere already has a plan – and another person – in mind to build on the strong foundation of our music ministry. A team is being assembled to assist in the search for that person. Please pray for this process. We don’t want to rush, but we do want to move forward with purpose. Until our next worship leader is found, we will continue to schedule various worship leaders in the same way we did during Paula’s once-a-month absences. And our choir will continue as scheduled until their summer break begins in June. It has been a great run having Paula on the WCCC team. We initially asked her to come for 3 months, and she gave us more than 2 years. Let’s choose to be grateful for the blessing of that amount of time and celebrate what God is doing at this time in her life. That is genuine community. This weekend at the conclusion of each service I will be speaking publicly with Paula about her departure to allow you to hear from her personally. Believing there are still great things to come for WCCC and its music ministry, I am –

Your dedicated pastor, David Vaughan

Well, I’m heartbroken but so very excited.  Paula and the church have been a huge inspiration to me over the last few months not only spiritually, but also musically.  I got my old keyboard out and have been playing and singing stuff and even writing stuff, which I haven’t done for a long time.  Paula is truly one of the most genuinely talented and humble musicians I’ve met (and I met plenty).  I am hopeful for her and will be the first in line to buy a ticket to her concerts when she plays near here.  And hopefully before she goes, she can finally help me learn how to successfully play with others so I might one day be able to play or even worship with a band. 🙂

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