On September 30, 2018, the Rev. Dr. Craig Lindsey announced that he would soon be concluding his pastoral relationship with the First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles. Across the presbytery, many hearts sank in sadness. Sadness for the friend, colleague, and leader we are losing. But there was also gratitude. Gratitude for 22 years of life-giving ministry, which transformed not only his congregation but our presbytery as well. Gratitude also for a leader who so deeply respects the needs of his congregation that he is willing to help them usher in a new season of leadership and vision, even if it means saying good-bye.

Craig blessed his church and this presbytery with energy, intelligence, a passion for mission, and selfless leadership. But what stands out perhaps more than anything else is Craig's love for the people he served---for his congregation, for us, for the Lost Boys of Sudan, for the new pastors he helped ordain and install, for the Christian Educators he defended, for anyone and everyone hurting. At a time when many churches across the nation were turning inward, as they struggled to survive, Craig led his congregation beyond its own doors to serve others and advance international mission.

Committed to a ministry of healing and reconciliation, Craig stood in the gap as the presbytery struggled to heal and reforge trust. As the chairperson of the presbytery's Creation Team, he inspired hope for the future, encouraged deep listening, and helped reorganize the presbytery along a new, more grassroots, relational path. Seeing this, the Rev. Betty Jones from Amboy-Belle Isle requested, as she lay dying, that Craig preside at her funeral and witness to the hope that past conflicts would be healed at the foot of the cross.

For Craig, our messy lives were never disruptions; they were opportunities for the gospel to be seen and heard. It's for this reason that he never shied away from challenges and conflicts, but fearlessly pursued justice and truth. Even a crying baby was never able to stop Craig Lindsey, who would simply---without skipping a beat---lift up that child, cradle it in his arms, and go right on leading worship, even preaching. 

The Rev. Deb Thomas says, "I have known Craig since he came into the presbytery. Together we have the shared experience of having seen a lot of things come and go in the presbytery, a lot of changes made, a lot of people retire and move away, the welcoming of new faces and colleagues, and a few instances of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, but somehow the presbytery always managed to find a lifeboat---I would say in large part due to Craig's insight and leadership."

That leadership included chairing the Committee on Ministry, the Committee on Preparation for Ministry, 12 separate investigating or administrative commissions, the Creation Team, and many other committees and groups. He served for 14 years as an elected member of the Presbytery Council, served on both presbytery and General Assembly Judicial Commissions, and acted as commissioner to the 2001 General Assembly. During his tenure, he visited approximately 50 sessions/counsels to discuss mission priorities.

Neither Craig nor the members of First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles know yet what the future holds. But judging from the foundation they together have built, we can trust that God will lead both into mighty works of love.

Craig will conclude his pastoral relationship with the First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. Members and friends from throughout Presbytery are invited to a worship service lead by the Presbytery followed by a reception hosted by the congregation at the church later that same afternoon. Details will be sent as soon as they are finalized.

We are going to miss him a great deal!