September 27, 2023
Dear Covenant Family,
I am filled with joy for my good friend and wonderful colleague, Dave Hunsicker, as I share the news that he is taking the next step in his career to become the Senior Pastor of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Dunedin, Florida, beginning in November. The St. Andrew’s congregation in Dunedin voted to elect Dave as their pastor today while we were in worship here in Covenant and they are thrilled to be welcoming such a highly qualified and deeply caring minister.
I am so proud of Dr. Hunsicker’s many achievements during his four-and-a-half years of service to Covenant as our Associate Pastor. There is not a single ministry of this church that has not been impacted by his wonderful leadership. He has blessed our Youth, Children, Stephen Ministry, Deacons, Outreach Team, Small Groups, and the list goes on! And on top of all this he has also preached inspiring sermons drawn from his deep well of scholarship and faith.
When the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee met with Dave in 2019, it was clear that Dave had a strong calling on his life to be the Senior Pastor of a congregation. His remarkable training as a theologian and his pastoral gifts have all led to this moment to be able to be a leader for God’s Kingdom. It has been Covenant’s privilege to partner with Dave in his development and to now be able to celebrate this wonderful goal becoming a reality.
At the same time, I want to personally share my sadness in knowing that in this transition we will be releasing Dave, Barbara, Felicity and Ezra after they have become such close friends. It has been a true honor for Alison and I to share our lives with them and to raise our children together. As a congregation we also owe so much gratitude to Barbara, who has been sacrificial in her own contributions to Covenant through her leadership of classes for parents, women and her musical gifts in the choir.
Our loss here in our own community will nevertheless be a wonderful gain for our sister congregation in Dunedin. I know that God’s kingdom will continue to flourish and advance as Dave has this new opportunity to preach and lead as the senior leader of a congregation.
Dave’s last Sunday will be on October 29th with a reception following worship in the Fellowship Hall to celebrate his ministry with us. Please take the opportunity over the next month to express your appreciation to Dave. He will be preaching on October 1, 8, 15, and 29th ahead of his departure. So I hope you will join me in cheering for him and lifting up Dave, Barbara, Ezra and Felicity in prayer for this new season in their family’s life.
Please do continue reading in this email for a letter of farewell from Dave.
Dear Covenant Family,
I’m writing to share some bittersweet news. This morning the congregation of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Dunedin, Florida, voted to call me as their next pastor. Barbara and I have prayerfully considered this offer and we feel God is calling us to lead and grow in this new congregation.
Our family has thrived in Huntsville and specifically as a part of this church family at Covenant. We are sad to leave our neighborhood and our church. We are thankful for the ways our family has grown and thrived here. Moreover, it is hard to leave in the middle of the incredible and transformative work that the Holy Spirit is doing here at Covenant, even as we are certain that this transformation will continue to unfold through this wonderful church.
When I first interviewed with the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee, almost 5 years ago, they asked me where I planned to be in 5 years time. I told them that there was a good chance I would be discerning a call to launch into a new season as a senior pastor in a new congregation. I shared that my hope was to come to Huntsville to learn from Rev. Kling and Covenant as an Associate Pastor for several years in order to gain the tools to lead and preach as a head of staff. Just as I prayed, this has been a successful and valuable time for me to prepare for the next step in my calling. I am so thankful for Rev. Kling’s mentoring and the support of so many Covenant members during this season.
Having fully embraced this season of service and prepation for 4 years, Barbara and I discerned God’s voice calling us to explore his next step for our family. Over the course of a series of interviews, we became confident that St. Andrews is the place where that will happen. This church is very similar to Covenant: a strong commitment to God’s word, multigenerational relationships, a passion for youth and children, and a desire to reach new people with the Gospel. It will be a blessing to continue our ministry in this new church home that shares a common mission with you at Covenant.
Barbara, Felicity, Ezra, and I want to express our deepest gratitude for the many ways in which you welcomed us into your community and your homes. We have always felt incredibly loved and supported here and I have learned countless valuable lessons about what it means to be a pastor thanks to your patience and generosity.
My prayer will be that God continues to provide Covenant with everything you need on your mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ here in Huntsville. I am thankful to have been part of that story. As the city continues to grow, I believe that God will use Covenant – and will use you – to transform lives for the sake of the gospel.
Grace and peace
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