GMA reported today that Heather Payne had announced this week that she will be leaving Point Of Grace after 17 years. Payne made the announcement through a statement posted on the group's website. It was accompanied by a statement from remaining members Shelley Breen, Leigh Cappillino and Denise Jones saying they will not replace Payne and will continue their ministry as a trio. Their statement also said they are currently in the studio working on three new songs for an expanded version of their current project, How You Live (Word/Curb/Warner Bros.). The expanded version, which will be Point Of Grace's first recording as a trio, will be released in September, the statement said.
Below is Heather's statement from PointOfGrace.com...
My dear friends,
This is a letter I knew I would probably have to write sooner or later. A little over a year ago, I sat down with the girls and told them that I was pregnant again (with Ava). I knew at the time it would make traveling a little harder than it already was. I told the girls that I would give it my all to keep up the pace. Well, I have given it my all and in the process I have realized that I can’t do it all. As much as I have tried to be super-wife, super-mommy and super-singer, my efforts came up empty. I now know that I haven’t been excellent at any of it. The girls have sacrificed and I have sacrificed, but mostly my family has sacrificed, and to continue like this is not God’s will. We all desire to be great at everything we do, however, in this world where there are so many things to do, we end up being average at those things instead of being excellent at the most important things. Right after I had Ella, I memorized Deuteronomy 6:4-9. This passage has been a constant reminder of the mandate that we have to raise our children in a way that they can watch us living out every day and therefore desire to emulate us as they grow older. It says:
“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (vv. 6-9).
As we prayed about what to do, this passage in Deuteronomy kept coming to mind. Every time I got to the part about teaching our children “diligently” and at all times, I started feeling uncomfortable. I haven’t been diligently teaching my children, I have been getting by. I am incredibly blessed with a husband that has supported my ministry. He had three of our kids many weekends by himself when I traveled and he embraced that time. Now, my role is to support him in his ministry. I will also be able to be actively involved in our home church. As believers we are members of the body of Christ. When a member is missing (as I often was) the body doesn’t function correctly. All of this to say, the Lord has been slowly preparing me and it is time. So, with no regrets but with overwhelming sadness, I am retiring from Point of Grace.
This has been a very difficult decision, but it is the right one. There are some very exciting things ahead for POG. As hard as it is for me to swallow, I won’t be a part of those exciting things…at least not in the same way I was. From now on I’ll be on the sidelines with you, cheering them on. I love Shelley, Denise and Leigh in a way that I could never describe. We have been on an amazing journey together and as I see it, this is where our road splits. They continue on their exciting journey and I begin a new one. They will always be a part of my life as well as my family. I support them 110% in all that they do and wish them only blessings. It’s funny, I haven’t really had a good cry about all of this yet (I haven’t had time with four kids nor has it really hit me yet), however, the only times I have been teary-eyed were when I was thinking of you, my fans. You have no idea how much I will miss seeing you. You have been faithful and encouraging throughout my almost 18 years with POG and I truly do consider you my friends. Hopefully, God will allow our paths to cross along this new journey. By the way, I will sing again. Not in this capacity, but by the grace of God I will continue singing.
I pray God’s richest blessings upon you all through the grace of our crucified and risen Christ in whom we have salvation. ‘Til we meet again.
Grace and Peace,
Below is the remaining trio's response, also from PointOfGrace.com...
We wanted to take a moment and tell each of you how much your support has meant to us for the past 17 years of our ministry. As you read in Heather's letter, she is coming off the road with Point of Grace after 17 wonderful years. It is unbelievable to think we have been together and traveling for that long. We have literally “lived” together, grown together, loved together, laughed and cried together, through the many ups and downs, twists and turns in this journey called "Point of Grace." People often ask us if we are truly as good of friends as we seem to be. We always joke that we have been together for 17 years and we actually still like each other!! But honestly, that is an understatement.
We are more than good friends, our connection runs deep – we are sisters. Something special has happened in our relationships with one another, something that cannot be fabricated, something that can only happen over many years of walking the same road together. We have a chemistry with one another, onstage and off, that we not only acknowledge, but treasure. After much prayer and consideration, this has lead us to the decision to not “replace” Heather. Some would say that no one is irreplaceable, but we would have to respectfully disagree.
Our precious sister Heather, in our opinion, is indeed irreplaceable. We are excited to continue with our ministry for as long as God allows, and it will be as a trio. We have been asked to do an expanded version of our latest project, “How You Live.” We are in the studio now working on three new songs for that project which will be released in September. This will be our very first recording as a trio. We would love for you to check back really soon as we will put up samples of our new music on our site. We absolutely covet your prayers during this time of transition and thank you in advance for the unwavering support you have always given so freely to each of us.
As for Heather, we will miss her more than words can say. We continue to talk and communicate with her every day, and our friendship will continue to grow just as it always has. She is a beautiful person inside and out, and we love her with all our hearts.
We are excited to see all of you on the road this summer. Love and blessing to you all.
...and then there were three,
Shelley, Denise, and Leigh
[2001 - 2017]
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