On Monday I resigned my position as pianist and organist of a local Presbyterian church. They haven’t found someone to replace me permanently yet, but they have two people who can cover the stretch of time between now and the end of summer. I also told them I desired to remain a member of the church, but not an employee. They then agreed that this is their desire, as well.
The main reason for my resignation was that the stress of the job reached the point of interfering completely with my day-to-day spirituality. Being a church job, this is rather ironic. But that’s why I decided to continue on with the church. I found the church itself to be a great contributor to my spirituality – just not the job itself.
Here is the text of my letter of resignation, submitted by email to the entire congregation:
My physical health is good, and I am generally in good spirits, but there are some issues with my mental health that are hard to grasp and have me occasionally feeling very disoriented. These are aggravated by stress. I cannot explain why this is, but somehow the simple piano-organ position that I had expected to be very easy for me and full of joy has become associated with an unbearable level of anxiety that, when it reaches a peak, causes me to make irrational decisions that have enduring consequences. If you can fashion a prayer around these words, please deliver your words to the One who has power to heal.
Also, while I regret that I was too ill to fulfill the Holy Week services, Norman has advised me that they went very well with the substitute. I will not be in church this Sunday, but I hope that thereafter you will all accept me as a member in good standing of First Presbyterian Church but not a part of the music ministry. While I occasionally enjoy playing the piano and recognize it as a gift from God, I have decided that things like reading music, following conductors, turning pages, piano-conducting, etc. are basically in the category of health risks at this time. I will eventually find some kind of piano lounge where I can play at random while daydreaming, make a little more money, and live a bit more comfortably here. So I hope you all will take this in the spirit in which it is intended. First Presbyterian Church of Moscow is the greatest church that I have ever happened upon in all of my lifelong church-hopping, and I will hop no further, so help me, God.
Thank you all for showing me true Christian love. I need that more than I need a job, at this time.
Grace and Peace,
As a start to a new day-to-day foundation for spirituality, I picked up a hard copy of a book today called The Celebration of Discipline, by a theologian named Richard J. Foster. I think that to become a little more routinized and regularized (but not “regulated,” mind you) might help with my musical work as well. I agreed with Pastor Norman that I would still play the Wednesday evening Taize services on a volunteer basis. Otherwise, I am mainly focused on putting my show together for my debut as a singer-songwriter in this area:
Andy Pope and Friends, Saturday May 6, 7pm, One World Cafe, 533 S. Main Street Moscow Idaho. Be There.
Even the demo is on the back burner for now (although I have rounded up most of the singers). Today I found all the band members for the show two weeks from tomorrow, so I’m diving wholeheartedly into creating a set list and writing out parts. I’ve got an Ibenez custom hollow body, a Yamaha electronic keyboard, and a good percussionist on the Cajon who also plays fiddle and mandolin. My bassist is from Lionel Hampton, and I’ll be using the house sound system for my singing. If you’re for any reason in the neighborhood, feel free to cruise by. I mean – don’t bust your back or break any laws, but you know where I’ll be.