Retiring pastor to continue walking by faith
One Washington pastor and congregation will head in different directions Sunday, when one retires and the others find a new pastor for their church.
The Rev. Jim Cluney of First Assembly of God Church in Washington is retiring from the church after a 26-year ministry.
“After 26 years, I’ve been praying and asking God when is a good time to leave,” he said. “I believe we were brought here into this community to build this church.”
He said he and his wife, Jean, were in their ministry at First Assembly of God Church for about three years when God started directing them to move into the building where the church is now. The former church was sold. The church at 1602 E. Washington St. in Washington was completed 13 years ago.
“We just sense it’s time to move on and we don’t have any idea where we’re going to go, what we’re going to do and so our position now is to make the transition and try to help the church in that process,” Cluney said. “Our district office will be sending people from Des Moines to facilitate that. The next guy will take it to the next phase, whatever that might be.”
Cluney thinks that it will take a few months to find a new pastor.
Not only did Cluney help build a new church in Washington, he helped build churches in Russia. He and the others on the trip found property that had been a missile site. The property was bought and an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility was constructed.
He also made a trip to Siberia with four other Iowans. One of the purposes of the trip was to provide eye care to the people of Siberia. About 1,200 pairs of glasses were shipped to Siberia before the group arrived. They helped 125 people the first day. The next morning there were 300 people waiting at the medical clinic to receive help.
Cluney has also traveled to Columbia, El Salvador and Tanzania.
In Washington, the pastor not only led his church, he helped the Washington community as a site supervisor for Habitat for Humanity and as a member and president of the Washington Ministerial Association.
“I’d like to say I’m so thankful for the community,” Cluney said. “Everything it seems like we’ve done, we’ve had a lot of support from the community. If we’ve put something on or if we’re part of something, the community’s always been there for us. We appreciate that so much.”
Reflecting back on his 26 years as church pastor, he said, “I’ve seen all kinds of babies born into the world. I’ve got two books that were over one hundred and some funerals I’ve done. It’s nice to see people married. You see people on the street and you say, ‘I had some part of their life.’”
Cluney said that while he is retiring from First Assembly of God Church, he is not retiring from ministry.
“At this point in time, I may take a sabbatical from ministry,” he said. “I may just take a few months or maybe a year just to back up and see what God wants me to do.”
The pastor also said that he has to live what he has preached.
“The Bible says you walk by faith and not by sight,” Cluney said. “When you don’t see that open door, you don’t see the direction you’re wanting to go or need to go, it gets a little bit precarious, but God will show us. Just as he’s taken us this far, he won’t leave us. It will be interesting to look at our next phase of life.”