December 2: Joan Linley's Retirement

Dear friends,

A few weeks ago, our Program Director, Joan Linley, shared with me that she had begun a discernment journey a year ago during the season of Advent. The stirrings in her over the past year have birthed a new relationship with Mercy by the Sea as she will be retiring at the end of this month. I know this will be bittersweet news for many of you. There will be happiness for her in this exciting new chapter, yet sadness in the absence of her daily presence at Mercy by the Sea. I am grateful she will continue to lead the School for the Second Half of Life, a program that she birthed and developed.

Many of you have been touched by the programs Joan has created, the loving spaces she has held for you in spiritual direction, or the perfect book she has recommended—all stemming from her vast knowledge and profound dedication.

Our gratitude for Joan’s service to this ministry is deep and wide. While I wanted to have a more formal goodbye for her, I am honoring her request not to do so. Over the next few weeks, I hope each of you will offer your own gratitude and appreciation for the ways she has touched your life and shaped our ministry here at Mercy. She will always be an important part of our legacy. I invited Joan to share some words of reflection about her time at Mercy—you can read them here.

As we enter into the holy season of Advent, let’s remind ourselves that God’s ways are unchanging, even as things around us change. I have always loved this season because it invites me back to the deeper knowing of God’s character and the way the Spirit moves in my life. The darkening days give ample time to be quiet and contemplative, providing the opportunity to discern where I have wandered too far from my connection to God’s steadfast love, and reminding me to rest again in the possibilities that this deep, abiding, Holy Love can birth.

I hope to see many of you at Mercy’s holiday celebration on Tuesday, December 7, from 6-8 p.m.!

Dr. Cathy Collins, Executive Director