Pastoral Letter 2

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Lent has begun and thank you Jesus!  Lent is the season that we turn back to God.  We try to discern what actions, thoughts, or decisions have become roadblocks between ourselves and our relationship with God and one another.  The greatest part of Lent is that if we approach this journey with true repentance then we can walk in a new life with the Risen Christ.

Our community is definitely on a journey.  Change in pastoral leadership always creates more than a few bumps.  I humbly ask for your prayers and patience as we work through the transition.  The Session has been diligently serving this community in love.  Think of the places that we have been!  We welcomed a new pastor in January 2016, we walked through Tom Bandy’s assessments and challenges to examine who we are and where we are called, we attended Lenten dinners, celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, attended cottage meetings, formed a new vision and direction for the church, hosted a Halloween event for the wider community, and let’s not forget, a Living Nativity!  All of these things were done out of a love for our Lord Jesus Christ and the desire to hear his voice and discern his call for his community.

Things did not always go smoothly; all was intended in love but it didn’t always feel that way.  That is part of our brokenness.  There are many questions for us: Where is Jesus leading us today and how do we heal?  How do we live as a community of faith that honors one another with our words and actions? How do we address the many hurts – those that have been held for some time and those which are much more recent – that still linger?  The Session is diligently and prayerfully tackling all of these questions and many more.  One of the challenging pieces is that the Elders want to be a Session of action but they must balance that with discernment and wisdom.  It may feel like things are taking forever!  I want you to know that the Elders are meeting often.  They have met with Committee on Ministry twice since January 15 and two additional meetings independently, without COM, in the past seven days.  They are working as quickly and diligently as they can.  They are also working through their own healing process, knowing that they will be a stronger Session and more helpful for the congregation if they allow themselves some time to become whole again.

We are all searching for answers and reconciliation.  Perhaps, you are someone who has found peace.  Perhaps, you are someone that is still asking, “Well, what about……?”  Several weeks ago, I described us standing on a mountaintop.  We are in the Shelter of the Lord.  Some of us are ready to move ahead and take action.  Others are wounded and simply need to heal.  The Session is balancing the needs of this community with love, prayer and dedication.  I ask that you please pray for each of our brothers and sisters in Christ:  Mike Clinton, Ann Joseph, Kelly Krueger, Steve Nelson, Ed Powers, Bill Short, Judy Jensen (Clerk of Session), and Jerry Bucholz (Treasurer). 

This is not a hopeless place.  We are in the Shelter of the Lord.  The sun is beginning to peek out from behind the clouds.  Jesus is going to lead us forward.  We can trust in the leadership of the Lord but we all know God’s lead isn’t always on our timeline.

In the peace of Christ,

Susan