It has been a long while since our parking lot worship service. After that service I was overjoyed and honored to hear that I would be your next pastor at Grace UCC. I was waiting in the church when I received the great news. Although many of you could not join us, some of us celebrated the moment at a safe distance inside. As we were talking, I noticed a phrase that kept getting repeated. That phrase was, “this just feels right.” Have you ever said that before? I have been thinking alot about that lately especially with how it relates to what Grace UCC has been through these past fourteen months. The search process, the set-backs, the applications, the interviews, the search and call checklist, the unanswered questions, all of which was resolved in the phrase “this just feels right.”
John 3:8 reads, “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” The author of John can only liken God’s immanence to the wind that blows through. It is so easy to miss, yet always blowing. When you experience that immanence, it is often something we feel more than we can explain with words. The phrase, “This just feels right,” is a clue, an indication, a trace, that God is still at work in this moment of uncertainty. Whether it is in your own lives or in the life of the Church, we can trust in the mysterious immance of the Spirit which sustains all life.
As we navigate how to be church in this time of Covid, it’s important to ask, how is the Spirit moving within our congregation? How are we discerning difficult decisions in conversation with a God that supports and sustains all life? What does faithfulness in the Spirit look like at this time? I am excited to discern with you about what feels right for Grace UCC.
My transition will look different than previous pastors. Not only are we having to make difficult decisions about in-person worship, but I join the conversation as an expecting father cautious about the world my child will soon enter. To that end, it may mean getting to know one another at a safe distance. It’s not my first choice, and I can tell you I am grieving the loss of physical presence, but it is my way of showing you how much I already love and care for you all. My goal is to call everyone in the congregation and get to know you better. You are free to share as little or as much as you would like to, knowing that it may have to be enough for right now. In my effort to know you better, here are some questions you can begin to think about.
- What is your story? What have been the highlights of your life (or faith) journey?
- Why Grace UCC? What has brought you to this community in particular?
- Knowing we are all missing in-person worship, what are your thoughts or feelings on returning to worship in the building?
I am so excited to listen to your stories and get to know you better. My wife, Jessica, and I are looking forward to moving back to our home state! OH–IO. Our families are also looking forward to having us closer, especially with our first child due in July. We anticipate wonderful potlucks and even greater memories. This just feels right!
Faithful God, Comforting Christ, Flowing Spirit,
As we feel the wind blow through the leaves of the trees, we
are reminded that we are forever surrounded by your steadfast love.
Be with us in our discerning, in our grieving, and in our mission
to live a gospel that supports and sustains all life. Amen.
Blessings for your journey,