Rev. David Deans has been asked to become the Senior Pastor of Glenelg UMC in Glenelg MD as of September 1, 2020. While we are excited about this move for David and his family, we recognize the loss for Oakdale. David has served Oakdale for the past 10 years with passion and has been a blessing for our ministry. While there are many details yet to be worked out, I did want to write to offer you as much information as possible.
David and Debbie have requested the ability to continue to live in the parsonage so that Evan can finish out his senior year at Blake High School. The Board has approved that request with the details still being worked out. Even though the Deans family will still be living here, it is important for the Oakdale family to recognize that as of September 1st David is pastoring another congregation and I would ask that we all respect that boundary. David cannot be expected to continue to be available for our Oakdale family while he is working to get to know and lead another church. This boundary is made more difficult by our deep love for the Deans and their love for Oakdale, but together we can offer them the space they need to transition well.
In terms of David’s replacement, we have not had enough time to work through the details, but Oakdale will not be receiving at this time another pastor appointed by the UMC. This gives Oakdale the chance to identify our current and future needs and the flexibility to hire the best person for those needs. Please join us in prayer as the Board and staff take a comprehensive review of staffing in light of our unfolding mission and vision.
Finally, given the time frame and COVID restrictions, it will be hard for Oakdale to offer the ministry celebration we would like and which the Deans family deserves for their time and leadership here at Oakdale. We are offering a “virtual wall” where members of the congregation can offer their gratitude and heart to the Deans family for their fruitful ministry while here at Oakdale. We hope to have a staff and Board gathering to celebrate David and his ministry, and we are working toward a “drive-by” thank you and blessing for late August for the entire congregation. The details for the “drive-by” are being worked out now and more information will follow.
Finally, let me assure you that David was not seeking this transition but felt God’s leading in it for sure. I know that David will lead Glenelg UMC well and that God is expanding His Kingdom through this move. Serving as disciple-makers often takes us out of our comfort zone and into the world in ways we were not expecting. However, our Heavenly Father knows our needs better than we do and continually watches over us. Our griefs and fears fade away as we lean into the comfort of God’s goodness and providence. Oakdale Church will continue to be in ministry with Rev. David Deans through our prayers and our loving support.
Your friend and pastor,