Have I told you lately that I love you? Because I do! Last Tuesday, Aug 15, marked the 1 year anniversary of me being your Associate Pastor. It has been a year beyond expectations for me – I couldn’t have asked for a better first year as a minister. Whenever I speak with one of my peers from seminary, they always remark on just how happy I sound. And there’s a reason for that – you! Over the past few weeks, I’ve been doing some reflecting on what about this community that I love so much. Here are just a few of those things.
I love how you warmly welcomed me and accepted me. With notes of encouragement and galas of welcome, with food and entertainment, with smiles and hugs, you have made me feel loved. You have also let me love you right back – which isn’t hard at all to do!
I love your giving nature. When there is a special offering, we always have such a wonderful response. When we need volunteers for anything, you are there. When I need another set of eyes and ears, you offer honest and reflective thoughts.
I love your differences. This church is not comprised of people who all think alike or act alike and thank God for that! We have a range of different ways of celebrating and worshiping God, have various ways of thinking about theology, and we don’t let any difference get in our way of loving each other and the God that has called us together.
I love your willingness to try new things. Over the last year I have had the opportunity to see and support new programs in throughout the life of the church, new ways of worshipping, new ways of (as we used to say in seminary) “being Church.” I have rarely heard the proverbial “but we’ve always done it this way” and that has been a blessing. You’re open to where God made lead you – both individually and communally.
I love so many more things. I love the hugs I get after worship, I love getting to be silly with the youth (and some of the adults!). I love running into you wherever I go, from the grocery store when I’m shopping to the coffee shop when I’m working on a sermon. I love that some of you tease me about my dancing during worship – and that some of you join in. I love getting to know you and I love that I have so much more of that in my future.
In case you didn’t get it the first 50 times, I love this church and I look forward to many more years of ministry together.