Dear VOA – My Last Weekly Note


This is not how any of us hoped this would turn out. I am writing to you from home with emotions and memories swirling around me. I’ve heard from many of you experiencing the same. Though my employment status may indicate otherwise, this is my last weekly letter to you as your pastor.

There have been a couple of emails sent out today, with one of them indicating that I have discerned it’s time to find a new call.

That is untrue.

I have NEVER communicated that to anyone, including in my 1,600 word resignation letter to Session. And, quite frankly after the experience of the last several weeks – which were not shared in either email – I don’t know when, or if, I’ll be ready to do so.

About six weeks ago, a VOA staff member and I were placed in a difficult situation, which culminated in me getting hit in the face with a shoulder bag, as I tried to get between an aggressor and the other staff member. Everyone is physically fine, but it was, as you can imagine, very hard to deal with emotionally and spiritually.

It was my desire that we establish firm, safe boundaries with the aggressor, but also to encourage to return to our faith community after a time away and upon the completion of specified self-care goals. Over the course of the next several days, a disagreement on how this should be communicated arose, and I was put in a spot where I didn’t feel that I could effectively serve as your Site Pastor as both victim and care-giver. I needed a safe plan to be established that would allow us all to work towards reconciliation – in writing, so we were all working with the same understanding – but it did not happen.

That was late September, when I stepped away from my normal duties. I had hoped my absence would be short, give me some time to regroup, and provide time for those who thought otherwise to hopefully see the value of clearly communicated expectations and commitments. At a meeting two weeks ago, I was informed by those in authority over me that my request would not be met. I was also told that my efforts over the last three years (including the pandemic) were not satisfactory, that I had not been doing enough to help VOA succeed.

At that moment, I realized that the incident of violence that began all this would not addressed like I (and others) felt it should, and that I had lost the confidence of too many to continue effectively as your Site Pastor. I turned in my six-week notice on October 26, but was told the next day that my resignation would take effect immediately.

So, here we are, at a very abrupt end to our time together. I’m sad. I feel a lot of guilt. I feel a lot of hurt. And I don’t know that I’ll ever understand why I was treated like a threat and told not to return. I don’t know if and how we’ll be able to say our goodbyes, but here’s what I want to tell you…

Pastoring VOA has been an incredible gift. Building relationships with you, serving our community together, and yes, improvising sermons because of technology failures (even the Christmas Eve one!) have been soul-filling for me, Aaryn, and our boys. You have shared your stories with us, allowed me into the most vulnerable parts of your life – baptisms, weddings and funerals – and trusted me with some of the most joyous and mournful moments of your lives.

I’ve seen you embrace the call to serve our community with gusto. VOA been a place in southern JoCo to talk about hard issues like gun control and immigration. We’ve opened our doors to groups doing good in our community. We’ve been unflinching in our commitment that Black Lives Matter. And, we responded to COVID-19 by moving worship outside and feeding thousands of people from our pop-up food pantry. A few weeks ago, your Coordinating Council voted unanimously to move almost $13,000 of unused budgeted program funds into our Mission Fund. This year over ⅓ of our program funds will be used to feed and help our neighbors in need.

Now, I’m gonna’ be honest. The thought of not improvising a sermon on the spot Sunday mornings is not something I’ll miss too much. What I will miss though, is how your “roll with it” attitude shines through in stressful moments. I have seen that adaptability time and again, as we’ve adjusted our mission and presence to meet the needs of our community and one another. The ability to laugh at yourself is crucial if you’re a disciple of a sinless, incarnate God. So, don’t ever lose that; the church of the future will need it as a pillar.

I was a part of those things, but not the totality of them.

Your staff was a part of them. God, am I going to miss them. I could not have been luckier to begin working with a couple of them, and to hire a couple of them. They’re not only excellent at what they do, but in who they are. So, please, consider caring for them as part of your discipleship at this time. 

You were a part – the biggest part – of our life together and our shared work, and you regularly inspired me with your love and compassion. You have been a people of radical welcome (and radical potlucks!). You can feel it in the air at VOA, and it pushed me and encouraged me to be better and do better. Thank you for that comfort and that challenge.

I will be pulling back from communicating with ya’ll for a time. I’m not leaving for another call, but I need the space, and you deserve the chance to connect with another pastor. I – we – are going to miss you terribly. I feel that grief with every keystroke, with every memory, and with this final sign-off. Our hopes and prayers remain with you.

Grace and Peace, 

Pastor Brandon

6 thoughts on “Dear VOA – My Last Weekly Note

  1. Praying for peace and comfort in this indescribable loss. May the grace of God be a shelter for you. Give yourself grace and know you are loved.


  2. Brandon,
    With tears I read this transparent, vulnerable and beautifully written farewell letter to your flock. You are not only an anointed pastor teacher and leader, but a bright light for the Kingdom that is being removed from their midst.
    Sadly there is so much world in the church that it is difficult to tell the difference between the two. Because of this, the light of the Gospel of our Lord is often hidden under bushels of dishonesty , political alignment and mammon, resulting in priceless treasures being cast aside. I weep with you, but I rejoice with you as well, because we both know that Love wins!
    Holding you and Aaryn, Nathan and Levi and your flock in my heart and prayers.
    Love you so much, 💗Sue🕊


  3. Thank you for your words of explanation as hard as it was to write. We are grieving with you and can’t imagine what you must be going through. We know you will get through this in time. Our prayers are with you and family. We know good things are in your future.


  4. Dear Brandon, AKA, Rev Dr Brandon!

    Hello, dear friend, Brandon. I am saddaned and disappointed that your tenure at VC came to such an end. I was employed in large organizations for most of my working career which ended in June 2012 — almost eight years ago. I saw how an organzation can become more important in the eyes of those at the top compared to even the best and most honored employees. So, I know things like this happen. It happended at VC during Robert B. tenure as senior pastor when Rev John Higgins was asked to resign (which he did). Nothing that large organizations do surprises me any longer. I have seen iit all before.

    I am only conerned with the well-being of you, your wife, and your darling little boys and our VOA family. My heart hurts for everyone. Please know how special you are to so many VOA and VOM congregants and staff. You have been such a joy in our lives and a treasusred friend and faith leader. I also congratulate you for your courage and resolve during these past few months and your attentiveness to the Holy Spirit urging you to support the Black Lives Matter movement and serve as a witness to the love of Jesus Christ for all of God’s children. In my view, your active involement in these street protests represented one important way in which the church can let people know that all of God’s children have equal worth and thus should be treated as God’s children. You indeed are following Jesus last commandent to love one another in the same way Jesus does.

    Wishing you and your family all good things and God’s continued blessings!
    I hope that I will have the good fortune to have our paths cross again.

    Jim Galliher


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