A Transition

After a significant time of prayer and discernment with one another and some good friends, Sara and I have accepted an offer for me to become Assoc. Prof. of Counseling and Pastoral Care at Western Theological Seminary, Holland, MI., a move which will give Newbigin House of Studies an even greater presence in our partner seminary, and further our progress on several key projects we envision for the future. While this means a transition from San Francisco and the City Church staff, I’ll continue working with Scot Sherman as I have been to advance Newbigin House of Studies. In fact, I will be teaching our M.Div. students all of their core courses in counseling and pastoral care, while helping develop our M.A. program, something my presence in Holland, MI will make much easier. And I’ll continue serving our Newbigin Fellows program.

When we moved to San Francisco almost 5 years ago, I came with two major goals – to start a counseling center and to help start a seminary. We’ve accomplished both. Our counseling center has a staff of six, led exceptionally well by Rev. Jay Wilson. We’re in the fourth year of a very successful lay counselor training ministry. Johnny LaLonde has successfully launched a host of support groups. And the center has gained a reputation for excellence, such that many pastors and surrounding churches send people our way.   

Together, Scot Sherman and I launched the Newbigin Fellows program, which is also in its fourth year. We’ve seen over 80 men and women trained through it. Last Fall, we started our Master of Divinity program under Scot’s leadership with 13 students. Scot and I have logged many, many hours traveling back and forth to Holland, MI, strategizing, teaching, and more.  At this stage in the evolution of Newbigin House, it made sense to us that I should be there, not only because of my strengths in teaching pastoral care and counseling, but as a strategic next step in partnership.  This transition also allows me to play an even more vital role in my primary area of specialization – counseling and pastoral care – in Newbigin House, City Classis, and the Reformed Church in America denomination. I will remain a part of the leadership of Newbigin House, engaged in our programs, including the Newbigin Fellowship.

A favorite theologian and mystic of mine, Lady Julian of Norwich, said many centuries ago, “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Scot Sherman has texted me these words many times over the past months as we’ve all prayed through this decision.  And yes, indeed, all manner of thing shall be well…

Grace and peace,

Chuck DeGroat

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