I’m Retiring

I’m Retiring

retireFor about a year the Grace Rivers Ministry board has been discussing our history and where we might be going in the future. We’ve navigated through the recent media opportunities and have seen much fruit from our involvement.

Through our evaluation, I have personally done my own assessment of where I’ve been and what my life could look like in the future. I turned 65 years old this year and have spent the better part of the last 35 years involved in ministry to and with the LGBTQ community. I have greatly appreciated the good memories. I also humbly accept the aspects of these years that bring regrets. But overall, I trust that life provides ways to see the good that comes from it all.

Ministry with the LGBTQ community has evolved since I began in 1987 in the midst of the AIDS crisis. Then for over 20 years I was involved in what we now call Conversion Therapy. For the last 10 years I’ve been reaching out to those impacted by my work with Love In Action, attempting to make amends where appropriate and forming new memories with many of the folks I’ve loved and known through LiA.

I now feel a need for changes in my personal life. While I’ll always make myself available for support, love, and care for LGBTQ people, I think it’s time to retire from managing a non-profit and have more time to do other things. I have a need to let go of being in an official capacity in ministry and just be me with others.

I want to continue writing some personal blogs and share more about my life and transition over the last ten years without tagging a ministry name.

But having said all of this, I believe there is still a great need for a ministry for the LGBTQ community. Our board has unanimously approved “gifting” the non-profit to another organization for their use. This group of people are doing amazing work to and with the LGBTQ community and we’re thrilled to see the future of this non-profit doing wonderful things!

When Grace Rivers was formed in 2009, we really had no idea what it would become. It has changed through the years to model itself on whatever was needed at the time. Being flexible has served us well. It is with great joy that I see Grace Rivers Ministry continue in the hands of these folks. We see a vision for the future that is bright and strong. I’m very excited to stand back and watch this religious non-profit organization continue to become what it will in the near future.

I will remain available for anyone who would like to contact me, including media contacts, and I’ll remain an advocate for the LGBTQ community. If you have any desire to connect with me, please feel free to do so.

Thank you so very much for being supportive of me and this ministry through the years. I deeply appreciate it. I know that many have been helped to navigate through this life with grace and dignity.

I will be developing a personal website for sharing my thoughts, my story, and my personal interests.

Stay tuned! I’ll let you know where to find me.

John J. Smid

Board Chair and Executive Director

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