Dear Members of our St. Paul Family,
When I was playing baseball, I knew when it was time to “hang up the baseball spikes” before the team would approach me with that suggestion. I think such self-assessment is good for any person to do.
The same holds true for the public preaching and teaching ministry. I am thankful that our ministry is “in good hands” here at St. Paul. And I don’t mean we’re “in good hands with All State Insurance.” I mean we are “in good hands” with my partner and friend, Pastor Fleischmann, serving as our lead pastor.
After prayerful meditation and consultation I have decided to retire from the gospel ministry. There will be a special retirement service scheduled for October 25, 2015 at 2:00pm with a reception in the CFC Commons to follow that service (the Packers have a bye that Sunday). You are all invited that day to thank our Lord together for the wonderful privilege He gave me to serve Him and His people for 35 years in the ministry (14 of those years serving Him here at St. Paul). My wife Sherry and I intend to remain members at St. Paul for the present time. Also, I may be used as a “pinch-hitter, relief pitcher or designated hitter” at times at St. Paul or elsewhere in the area.
What a joy and reward it was for me to lead souls to the knowledge of their sins and then to the fountain of salvation! What a joy and reward it was to place infants into the arms of Jesus through Holy Baptism! What a joy and reward it was to grant forgiveness to repentant sinners! What a privilege it was to teach children the Word and will of God and then lead them as confirmands to the altar where they repeated their baptismal vows! What a privilege it was to guide people, young and old, in the way they should go at every crossroad of life! What a privilege it was to stand at a hospital bed or visit a shut-in and observe the comforting power of God’s grace in the heart of a faithful believer! Yes, by God’s grace I have had the wonderful privilege of serving our gracious God and His people with the Gospel in Word and Sacraments and of receiving such rewards that money cannot buy.
In closing, my beloved wife Sherry and I offer this prayer of thanks, deeply and humbly grateful for this wonderful privilege that the Lord so graciously gave me: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service” (1 Timothy 1:12).
In our Savior’s service,
Pastor James Castillo
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16