The Journey Continues

I recently shared that I would be retiring after 28 years of ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. My retirement will become effective on April 30, 2022 and will be officially approved at the Annual Conference this June. My retirement from ministry in the UMC is not, in fact, a lifestyle retirement. After much prayer and discernment, I have decided to leave ministry in the United Methodist Church.

On July 1st I will begin serving as the Lead Pastor of the First Free Methodist Church in Seattle, Washington. ( Those with whom I am close know many of the reasons why I have made this change in my life. I need not detail them here. In all my discussions, prayers, and deep reflections with the Free Methodist Church I find that God is beckoning me to this new field of ministry. As hard as it has been to leave the United Methodist Church, I know that God has called me to a new place in the “vineyard.” First Free Methodist is a church steeped in the rich history of Seattle. I am grateful to be called to serve and multiply the church in this moment.

It is an exciting time for ministry in the Free Methodist Church as they are dedicated to the growth and multiplication churches and ministries. This coming season of full-time ministry is one filled with expectancy and excitement! I am thankful for Superintendent Michael Forney and Leadership Team Chairperson Diann Barry for their welcome and hospitality.

This fresh setting will open doors of service with Seattle Pacific University and its seminary. God has formed a deep love in me for both institutions. Having served as the chairperson of the Advisory Board of the seminary in the last few years, I can see the impact being made on emerging leaders in the life of the church. It is a joy to serve the church that helped found Seattle Pacific University and to enrich its legacy of service to the world.

God has truly opened a wonderful new of season of ministry. Bettina and I both embrace this moment with sincere love and affection for the impact the United Methodist Church has had on us both. We now turn toward this new journey with joy for what God will do. As always, our lives are becoming more and more the possession of Christ. 

Should your path take you to the Pacific Northwest, please reach out to us. We are, as always, yours in grace and love through Jesus Christ and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.


  1. Big changes for you! Kevin and I started attending a Free Methodist Church last fall and became members in December 2021.

    • Mary Jo, Great to hear from you! I am glad to hear that both you and Kevin have found a great place to continue your walk with the Lord. Thanks for leading the way!

  2. Many prayers and congrats go to you and Bettina as you travel on this journey. Much love from both of us.

  3. Greetings Craig,
    I was fortunate to attend a Path 1 trip to England that you co-led in 2016. You made a significant impact on me. Just wanted to share that with you. Grace and peace!

    • Andrew, Thanks for the kind words and the bringing to mind the trip in England. I cherish those moments in ministry and a long walk up to the Glastonbury Tor. Be well in all things. Keep the faith…

  4. “New” and “free” sound great to me! All the best to you both on this continuing journey.


    Bill Williams

  5. Very exciting news! I was thinking it was going to perhaps be an expanded podcast, more family time, some golf and traveling …
    But this is even better you’ll be back in the pulpit – what a beautiful church. Will the services be live streamed? Wishing you and Bettina much happiness as you continue the adventure in the Great Northwest – a very beautiful part of the country!

    • Nancy, You can find their services all recorded on Once I am settled in, I will resume the podcast. Please visit us!

      • Dear Craig and Bettina,
        I wish you all great joy in your new home in the Great northwest and with your new church. Your prospective parishioners are in for some great lessons and preaching! I will watch for your sermons online as well as your podcasts. You were a great inspiration to me and shared much love, joy, as well as sadness with my family. I will always be grateful. God bless.

      • Was so happy to hear of your plans for continuing to preach and serve. I was so blessed to attend First in Mission Viejo with my beloved friend Sunny Hartman. Then Bible study at First in Mission Valley. Prayers for your new adventure.

  6. I knew after your last announcement, that you were not done with full time ministry in the Wesleyan tradition. Congratulations my friend.

    • Thanks, David. The time simply came for me to serve a new tribe in the Wesleyan family. As always, I hold you and your ministry in deep respect and prayer.

  7. You’re in my thoughts and prayers Craig! I know God will richly bless you in ministry wherever you are. Be well!

  8. Craig, All the best to you and Bettina! I still remember your ‘No Fear’ sermon at Palisades, it was wonderful. Please keep in touch.

  9. Congratulations, Craig and Bettina. The FFMC will be a wonderful place to flourish in ministry and in community. Blessings to you both!

  10. Blessings to you in your new ministry! I appreciate your support of CST and for the opportunities of working with you.

  11. I am so happy for you friend! They’re getting an incredible pastor. I can’t wait to hear what’s next for you and in all of your adventures. Thanks for being an incredible supporter and friend to me while you were in the UMC.

    I’ll be praying, following along and cheering you on!

  12. I’m happy for you, Craig, and am sure the Lord WILL richly bless your ministry in this new place to which He’s called you. But California will miss you. (And by the way, don’t you go becoming a Mariners fan — I can’t see God being happy with that!)

  13. Godspeed in this next part of the journey. I still remember with fondness our first meeting and conversations about our mutual ministry here in Cal-Nev and the UMC. May this transition be one of grace and peace, mixed with new Kingdom challenges. I await to hear more as you share about these discoveries.

  14. Craig and Bettina, best wishes and prayers for a fruitful and delightful season of ministry and life in Seattle! May the Lord give you all the best!

  15. You are going to a wonderful church in a tremendous denomination. I know Matt Poole from my dmin days. I hope you will thrive at the church.

  16. Congrats to you, Craig! What a remarkable transition. All God’s best as your journey serving Christ continues!

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