Letter from Pastor Brooke Hartman

Dear Powell Church Family:

I hope that this unexpected time of a pandemic has given you space to reflect, reorient, and renew. Though we share similar challenges, the implications for each of us is diverse. No matter how this has affected us, may we be assured of God’s presence and provision.

In the midst of the pandemic, life has continued to happen for each of us. For me and my family, life has included my diagnosis of breast cancer. Even as I write it, I still feel like I am telling someone else’s story; yet I am telling mine. The process of detection, testing, and diagnosis has been a whirlwind, and I am grateful for the care I have received already. Although I am still in the process of more testing, we have a treatment plan overview. The type of cancer I have is aggressive, Triple Negative Breast Cancer. With the aggressiveness of the cancer, we are responding aggressively. I will begin chemotherapy in a week or two for approximately six months, followed by surgery. The road ahead is long; yet this is curable. We live into that hope each day. 

Obviously, there is much to absorb and process, as a 49-year old woman, a mom, a wife, and a pastor. I am walking through that process one day at a time. We are walking through that process as a family, as we have days that feel very normal and others when we crave some sort of normalcy. As Powell Church leadership and staff, we are walking through what this means in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

What I can say with certainty is that my family and I need your prayers. We believe in the power of prayer to carry us through what seems unthinkable. You all have been here before, standing at the edge of what you hoped would never happen and it does. You all have walked the road of hearing a diagnosis that changed your life and your family’s life. You all know the power of God’s presence and provision. We stand there too in this season.

Brad; Ann Robins, our District Superintendent; church leadership; and I are praying and discerning what this means for me and Powell Church in my role as pastor. As I have reflected the past two weeks, one thought that I continue to have is gratitude – that I took the leap into full-ministry four years ago and for how you all have received me in such gracious ways. Each day I get to walk with you is a gift. We will be in contact as my treatment plan becomes more finalized and we understand what I will and will not be able to do as I fight this battle with cancer. We ask your prayers for our process.

In a time of unknown, there are several knowns. One, we put our faith and trust in God, the God of creation, who came to be with us through Jesus Christ, who continues to dwell in us through the Holy Spirit. As I was driving to have an MRI yesterday, I had this incredible sense of “God is making a way.”  I do not know what that way will be. I do know that it requires of me and us to follow him one step at a time. Two, my family and I are going to need you to walk with us. We will be transparent about the journey, and we will set boundaries. We will accept help, and there will be days when we have no idea what we need. We will need you to stand in the gaps, and we also will need you to step back at times. Thank you!

I sent a friend a description of my moment of peace about God making a way. She sent me Isaiah 43:19, which says, “Look! I am doing a new thing; now it sprouts up; don’t you recognize it? I’m making a new way in the desert, paths in the wilderness.”  God is with us. We claim that truth on this day and the days and weeks to come. I believe in the redemptive power of Jesus’ amazing grace and immeasurable love. 

We will be in touch in the weeks ahead. Rest assured God has this and all of us. 

By God’s grace,


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