Sugar Loaf United Methodist Church
Pastor Susan Chupungco joined the Sugar Loaf United Methodist Church on July 1, 2014.
A native of California, Susan relocated to New Jersey to attend seminary at the Drew Theological School. She graduated with a Master of Divinity degree. Susan has been an assistant pastor at the Yorktown Heights United Methodist Church and she and her husband, Angelo, were married in June of 2014. She gave birth to their son, Grayson, on April 19, 2018.
Susan loves long walks, knitting and yoga. She enjoys arts and crafts and anything that involves construction with wood, glue, scissors, nails, fabric, etc. She loves the outdoors and believes that fresh air and sunshine are two of the best things in the world.
We always knew this day would come, but it doesn’t make facing it any easier.
When I chose to answer my call to ministry in the United Methodist Church, I committed myself to the itinerancy. Itinerancy or itinerant ministry refers “to the commitment by pastors to go and serve wherever their bishops send them.” This means that from time to time pastors and churches have to say good-bye to one another. The pastor moves on to enter ministry in a new community and the church receives their next pastor who will lead them in new ways. In this “serial leadership” of consecutive pastors the congregation benefits from the varied and diverse skills that each pastor brings.
Although I have always known that we would someday say good-bye, I find myself experiencing a mess of emotions ranging from great joy to deep sadness. There is great joy as I reflect on all that we have done together and there is deep sadness as I say good-bye to this community who I have loved and who has loved me. But this is the business of an itinerant pastor, loving and leaving, and I am learning that it is not for the faint of heart. As I pack up my office each item reminds me of where we began and of all that we have experienced together. As I walk through the empty church and sit in its silence, I grieve all the things that we could still do together if I were able to stay just a little longer. As boxes begin to fill up the parsonage I realize that it is not just a parsonage, it is the home where Angelo and I spent the first years of our marriage together and where we watched Grayson learn to first crawl and now walk. Soon someone else will stand-in the pulpit and break bread with you, soon someone else will stand in the pulpit, and soon someone else will build a life and a home in this place. None of this ever belonged to me, it was and always will belong to God. Knowing this makes it a little easier to let go, but only a little.
Of course, leaving is not all sadness. There’s a lot of joy in what’s next, and a peace about time well spent here. We have shaped each other in wonderful ways. We have taught each other about love, grace, and perseverance. We have learned new prayers and new songs from each other. We have come to find appreciation for one another even in the midst of our disagreements and we have expanded our thinking about what we thought was possible. We have shared so much together and as this chapter comes to a close I thank you and I thank God for all that was. As the next chapter opens, our stories will go in separate directions, but I know that you will be praying for me, as I will be praying for you, and I believe that God will do marvelous things for us both!
It has been a great honor and privilege to serve among you.
In peace and hope for the future,
In Love, Pastor Susan