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Sheryl Wilkey Says….

January 30, 2015

Sheryl Wilkey wrote this, and it’s with her permission that I share it with you.  Her husband Wes is a highly-respected colleague who was one of the very first to welcome me into The Order of St. Luke long before Central and Southern Illinois Conferences merged.  I could list his accomplishments, but he’d probably prefer you know that he’s a Bass Boat Guy.

Okay, I’ll yield this space to Sheryl, who says so much so well here.  But not before I ask for your prayers for these friends and their current church —

Retirement Letter/ J. Wesley Wilkey

If there were no change there would be no butterflies. I am aware of this , yet the older I get the more I resist change. I wish to find a place that is ours and call it home. I wish to be with those I admire and love always without saying goodbye ( I lost my father six years ago yesterday.)

But life often takes us in new directions. Due to my husband Wes’ cardiac health, I have been insistent on him retiring early as an itinerant pastor of The Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. After months of planning and paperwork, he will retire effective February 1, 2015. Wes has served under appointment for 38 years. He has been a strong administrator, and a talented writer and speaker. His sense of humor, intelligence, loyalty and open mind has been a blessing.

His ministry and strong leadership has been a source of pride to me and my children and a gift to many over the years, He has served eight churches in midwest Illinois towns/cities; five of them being with me and our children, The highlight of his career was the building of Tremont United Methodist church in Tremont, Illinois. It is simply beautiful,

The gravity of this decision is heavy on us but one I/we are sure of, We wish to look on it as an adventure where our yesterdays and tomorrows meet; For looking forward–Together.

We will be moving out of the church parsonage (the wonderful safe place we called home for nine years ( with the most beautiful tree in the backyard i have ever met) ). We will find a home for rent in Champaign or Savoy for four years. We have made this choice so that our son, Ian can attend Central High school in the fall as a freshmen and graduate there, When we moved here, Ian was in kindergarten, he has made friends and is thriving in the fine music, theatre and academic program Central has to offer.  Ian will be confirmed at Faith UMC in the spring, He wishes to remain a part of Faith UMC, As he will be attending alone, I trust that he will continue to be cared for and nurtured at Faith as he grows in his faith journey,

Wes and I have some exciting plans for the future. We plan to visit our children and enjoy some traveling. Wes has plans to organize our family archives and write. I will continue to teach at my preschool in Savoy for four years; I then wish to return to college.

Our children are supportive of our choice. They have been beautiful children as it is not always easy to be clergy children/family. I have always wished for privacy for them especially when they were very young and I have appreciated your understanding with this. Thankyou

As Wes and I leave the itinerant ministry, we think of all those who have touched our lives over the last 30+ years. Your shared experiences, your sorrows, your joys, your families and children are deeply a part of us. Thankyou for walking with us in our ministry of Christ.

Watch out for each other, work for peace with justice, love and forgive everybody. Employ the gifts and grace God has given you for the benefit ALL others.

With Fondness, Sheryl

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