Dearest Village Church,
We write this letter with both great excitement and considerable sadness. We are excited and thankful for what God has made clear--that He is calling our family back to Chicago. Our sadness stems from the sense of loss that we feel in leaving Village Church and all of the wonderful relationships we have developed here.
Almost three years ago, God brought us to Greenville and provided immediate church community with which we felt, and still feel, a keen sense of shared vision and spiritual heritage. Many of you know that I (Alec) worked on the same residence hall staff with Seth when we were at Wheaton College fifteen years ago. During that same period we developed a common love for the richness of the Anglican tradition and the rhythm of meeting God through word and sacrament. For Jill and I to be granted the opportunity to join Seth and Ashley in planting this church was providential. To watch the Lord grow Village exponentially in such a short period has been nothing short of glorious.
Yet even in the years before we moved to Greenville, during my time in the Marine Corps, Jill and I were consistently asking of God, and of one another, whether His ultimate call for our family would be to return to the Chicago area where the life of our family began. In recent months, God has orchestrated a series of events and circumstances that will enable us to reunite with family, care for aging parents long term, and preserve my professional commitments. We rejoice in all of these things.
Nonetheless, we have already begun to mourn the approaching loss that being absent from Village will create in our hearts. Of course, we do not grieve as those who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13) because we know that all things, times, and plans were formed in Christ and in Him all things hold together (Col. 1:15-17). And while we have the utmost confidence in Seth, Cameron, and the rest of the Village leadership to continue shepherding this body by the direction of the Holy Spirit, our confidence goes far beyond what any human leader could provide, "for neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who brings the growth." (1 Cor. 3:7)
We are happy to answer any specific questions that you may have about our upcoming move and what brought it about, so please feel free to ask. Moreover, we look forward with expectation to what God will do in our midst in the next few months as we continue to worship with you.
Alec and Jill Smith