A new season of ministry
Growing up in “The Evergreen State,” I never experienced a real technicolor fall until I moved to New England. Now it's my favorite season. Every day, the world looks a little different: This tree turns from green to yellow, that one is almost entirely red. From mid-September to mid-November, the landscape is never quite the same from one day to the next. It's exciting to wake up and discover what new beauties the day will bring.
This season of my ministry is a bit like fall in New England: I've been called from church to church, working with congregations in transition, meeting new people, discovering new ways to serve, and learning from the extended family of faith that is the Presbytery of Northern New England.
The church landscape is vibrant and dynamic, with God constantly at work around us, offering new gifts daily for those who will see them.
If all goes as planned, then the landscape of Eliot church will be changing soon. Early in September, the congregation will be voting on hiring a new pastor. The Pastor Nominating Committee has put in many months of thoughtful, prayerful work into discerning the right shepherd to lead Eliot forward, and I'm confident you'll give her a warm welcome (as you welcomed me so warmly when I arrived amidst last winter's snowstorms).
As change comes to Eliot, change also comes to my ministry. At the time of this writing, I don't know precisely where God is leading me next, although there are a few possible paths. What I know is that time and again, God has shown faithfulness, bringing me to new communities of faith and new ways of serving. As the hymn says, “morning by morning, new mercies I see.”
I will certainly miss this congregation when the time comes to say goodbye. You have welcomed me as one of your own during the short time I've been here, and I will always treasure our friendships.
Being at Eliot is a special joy, with the many cultures and languages represented among its members. Eliot is a microcosm of the global church, reminding us how the Holy Spirit unites people of all lands. At Eliot, I'm reminded that the family of faith is bigger than I can see. So even when we no longer see one another on a regular basis, you will be in my heart: You have helped shape me as a pastor and a Christian, and I am thankful that we could share our journey for this time. I have great hope for the journey ahead, for all of us.
This fall, notice the beauty of each newly-turned leaf. Smell the air grow crisp and know it means that ever-changing nature is entering a new season. And look for the gifts of change with which God blesses you: New beauty, fresh breezes, new perspective, and new people to welcome into your life. Know the joy of embracing your new pastor and helping her make a home among you. And know that I will be embracing change of my own, thankful for God's new blessings, and always grateful that I've been a part of the Eliot community. May God bless you always.