October 31, 2016
The news of Danny’s kidney cancer is clearly unexpected and has huge implications for our church given the prominent role Danny has had in our church over the last few years. The elders were advised by Danny and Susy of Danny’s health situation on Wednesday evening of this last week and while we have had a little more time than the rest of you to process the news we are still working through the ramifications of it for Danny and Susy and their family, for those who have been particularly close to them, for those who have been the recipients of regular pastoral visits or in a mentoring relationship with Danny, for the leadership of church@paravista, and for the wider church as a whole.
The prognosis for Danny is still unclear for them and for us but we expect that Danny will be out of action for at least 3 months and more likely 6 months; he is on extended medical leave, effective immediately. Whatever happens, Danny has made it clear that he will not return in the role of senior pastor when, God willing, his treatment results in the restoration of his health. He has not resigned and is not intending to do so at this time, but he has urged the elders to re-visit our proposal to appoint another part-time pastor and instead take on a new full-time senior pastor, with Danny returning, again God-willing, in a part-time supportive role. Conversations have already commenced on this matter.
Obviously there is a lot to work through and it is clear that not everything Danny used to do can be taken on by Luke, our Youth Pastor, or by the current elders. Pastoral care and counselling are very much dependent upon relationships based on history, and trust, and shared experiences, and these are not always easily transferred to others. We will work with Danny, with as little invasion upon his time as possible, to put in place relevant support structures for those who need them, but some of that responsibility may also fall on individuals in the church who have naturally turned to Danny in the past – to those people, we say, please do not contact Danny and ask him what you can do; either talk to one of the elders, talk to Luke Dahlenburg our Youth Pastor, talk to Christine Sears our Admin Assistant, OR take the initiative yourself to find another person with whom you can continue pastoral care, counselling, or mentoring.
We are also well aware that Luke will be needing time off, possibly in late December, but certainly in January, when he and Natasha’s third child arrives. This will leave us without any paid personnel on board over at least the Christmas-January period. The elders are considering options re appointing someone in an interim role while we work out the longer term plan. If anyone has thoughts or ideas about this then please talk to one of the elders – Glenn, Mark, Phil, Trevor, or George.
Every member of this church congregation has been touched by the ministry of Danny and Susy in one way or another, some over a very long period of time, and we share the sadness and grief of this trial with them, as they and we have done with so many others who have been affected by the ravages sin has caused in our world.
We ask that you join us in prayer and petitioning to our heavenly Father to heal Danny, rather miraculously or through the blessings of the outstanding medical facilities we have in this country. Pray for their family, for those most affected by this news, for the elders as they seek God’s guidance for the way forward, and for us a church family as we deal with this situation.
The Elders – Church@ParaVista