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July 15, 2016
The Rev. P. Barry Hunteman
201 Carrera Drive
The Villages, Florida 32159
Dear People of God,
On July 15, 2016, after 42 years as a pastor, I am announcing my retirement to be effective January 15, 2017. Kay and I are expecting our second grandchild in November and I would like one of my last official acts as a pastor to be the baptism of my grandson.
Eighteen years ago on July 15, 1998, I began a call of our Lord through the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to develop a mission in a small community of about 18,000 people. This small town was referred to as The Villages of Lady Lake at that time. That mission, which became Hope Lutheran, grew to 335 charter members. In January of 2000 we organized as a self-supporting congregation of the ELCA. Those early pioneers did what few, if any, have done before in the history of the Lutheran Church in America. The continued enthusiasm and faith is infectious. Our mission is clear…“to know Christ and make Christ known.” With the help of so many gifted and talented people, God continues to inspire, educate and equip us to be a vibrant mission outpost for sharing Christ’s love.
I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity I have had to serve in your midst these many years. I am forever grateful to my whole family, especially my amazing wife, Kay, for all her support these many years. I treasure countless tender moments with so many of you. God has done so much good through us together! Together, we have served the living Lord. Together, we have laughed in times of celebration and joy. Together, we have cried in times of loss and sorrow. Together, we have worshipped and given praise to the Lord our God. And yes, I grieve the reality of my active ministry coming to an end. But I know, God is calling me into retirement and once again I am stepping out in faith into the unknown, just as I stepped out in faith 18 years ago to come here… an unknown place to me…a place where there was no congregation.
The future is before both of us. The best is yet to come. You and I can trust that the Father’s grace, the Son’s peace and the Spirit’s hope are with us always on our journeys!
P. Barry Hunteman