Summertime is often nostalgic. It invites us to sip lemonade, perhaps to attend family reunions or baseball games. It opens us up to the wonder of fireflies and ice cream, of gardening and grilling. It is a good time to remember how God has brought us this far by faith.
On May 26, 2012, I celebrated my 10th anniversary of ordination. I found myself amazed at how—simultaneously—it feels like I’ve been a pastor forever and like I’ve just begun. Ten years. That’s a lot of weddings, funerals, worship services, and whole lot of meetings. But most of all, that’s a lot of conversations, mundane and profound. I never cease to be amazed at how people invite me into the most beautiful and terrible times of their lives—baptisms and sick beds, weddings and breakups, confirmations and cremations. I love being a pastor. And more specifically, I love being YOUR pastor.
Trinity is, without a doubt, the best call I’ve ever had. You take care of each other, of me, and of the community. You love worship and do it well. You pursue knowledge and experience. Most of all, you love God, and want sincerely and deeply to share God‘s love with others. I am thrilled by your desire not just to go to church, but to BE the Church. I see this yearning in Bible studies and small groups. I see it in your volunteerism with the Road Home and other service projects. I hear you sing it, experience you praying it, and witness you doing it.
How can I say thanks for such a blessing? The only way I know how to express my gratitude to you and for you is to journey with you toward spreading the love you already bear. The Mission Discovery Team is a group of leaders who spend a lot of time talking and praying and listening to God’s desires for how our congregation is called to be part of God’s mission to bless the world. (You will hear a lot more about this during the month of June—please plan to attend worship and attend the after-service discussions!)
Our congregational council has voted unanimously to pursue becoming a Reconciling in Christ congregation. This means we will be hosting conversations about what it means to be a faith community that overtly invites and welcomes gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people into our life together. Plan to be part of the discussion in the fall.
Our Sunday school leaders and worship leaders are collaborating to create a Vacation Bible School experience for ALL the members of Trinity this summer, not just the kids! Stay tuned for information about a special outdoor worship service that will include arts and crafts, Bible story time, and favorite songs like “Jesus Loves Me.”
Stephanie Dyer and Ashley Brechlin and I are anticipating attending the ELCA Youth Gathering in New Orleans in July. Along with 36,000 other teenagers and adults, we will Practice Justice, Practice Peacemaking, and Practice Discipleship under the theme “Citizens with the Saints.” We are grateful to you for being so generous in your sponsorship of this trip! All these groups and many more are at work even now, imagining and creating new ways of telling “the old, old story of Jesus and His love.” This summer is not just about nostalgia, but about new birth! It is about cherishing how God has brought us this far, and anticipating how God is leading us forward. It is a delight to be with you in the middle of it all!