May 8, 2016

Pastor Letter

Dear Church Family,

We have hard news to share with our Los Altos UMC family, especially as it comes in the last months of my ministry here. We had hoped to share this news in person, but our timing didn’t work out.

Last fall I was experiencing some indigestion. By late winter the usual medications were not really addressing the discomfort. An endoscopy was scheduled just after Easter. On April 6, we discovered that I had a tumor in my stomach. When the biopsy came back the next week, it indicated I have “defuse large B cell (non-Hodgkin’s) lymphoma.” We have subsequently discovered it is stage 3.

This past Wednesday, April 27, I had an afternoon appointment with an oncologist to map the treatment plan, which I expected might start in May. However, early in the day they called and wanted to admit me to the hospital for tests and the prospective start of chemo. So that day, I was admitted to Harbor City Kaiser and started chemo on Thursday, April 28.

I am very proud and appreciative of the LAUMC staff, and I know they will be supporting you through this change. I appreciate that our District Superintendent, Kathey Wilborn, is there and will be a resource to the congregation in this transition.

At this point, I am not sure what my availability will be. My intention is to work from home and attend to some of the critical steps we are undertaking in the next 6 weeks. I will know my schedule as this shakes out over the next week in conversation with Kathey, Melinda and Marnos.

We have shared this challenging news with our immediate family, and now with our church family. There are others who will not have heard, so we request for the next week or so, that you not post to my Facebook page, or to Trisha’s page, your words of concern or well-wishes. We are planning to set up a separate Facebook page for those who want to track how things are going.

We welcome cards and letters. If you have questions, you can direct those to the church office. We appreciate your support and care over our years together and covet your prayers and encouragement.

With gratitude,

Pastor Mark