On Change and Transition

When I arrived at Fourth Presbyterian Church in the summer of 1985 many in the congregation could not envision a future without Elam Davies. There was great skepticism about the new minister who would no doubt start to change things, maybe even beloved traditions and practices and who, simply, was not Elam Davies.

Transitions, especially after a long pastorate, are not easy and sometimes painful. In 1985 unkind things were said. Some people dropped out. Somehow we got through it. Change happened.

Now, Fourth Church is in another transition time. Change will happen. Change should happen. A healthy Presbyterian church is, as the motto of the Protestant Reformation says, “Always Reforming”.

My hope is that the people of Fourth Church will embrace change and eagerly welcome new ideas, new approaches to ministry, new practices – which will, in time, become beloved traditions. And, in time, I look forward to being a part of the new version of the wonderful church we all love.


  1. Blair Monie says:

    Gracious post. As precursors, we bless those who follow. Bless you, John.

  2. Karen McCracken says:

    Our prayer for all.

  3. Bud & Monet says:

    Well said.

  4. Gary Rayl says:

    Thank you John your kind wise words are increadable as we of Fourth begin a new adventure. Leadership even beloved leaders must change or Institutions die.

  5. Karen Johnson says:

    Thank you so much, John, for your wise words. Change is sometimes very bumpy, and that is OK. Karen Johnson

  6. Carl G Leigh, MD says:

    Amen, Amen, and Amen. Peace and Joy to: JMB, SJK, and to all in our loving and serving congregation.

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