On June 25th, my family and I will be living in Newtown, leaving a town, a church and many people that my family  and I have come to know and love deeply for the past eight years.  Also, July 1st you will be embracing the ministry and gifts of the minister who comes after me, the Rev. Kim Bosley.   I urge you to give her the very same kind of welcome you all gave me when my family and I showed up!  What a welcome! “Open Arms” doesn’t begin to describe it.  You put yourselves fully out there for us to see and it was (and still is) a beautiful thing.  Rev. Bosley will also be grieving, leaving a church she has been pastor for 10 years!  Be gentle, and allow her a period of grace to get to know you and the church family.

Each one of us has different gifts, different ways of looking a the same thing – and that’s what makes life soooo interesting, and exciting as possibilities you never thought could be, begin to take shape.  So, after eight years of my perspective and leadership, someone different will take my place and it is going to be different – and that’s a good thing!  Be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit and welcome her with arms and minds wide open to the newness, the freshness and with joy be ready for God to do wonderful things with and for you.  As you do, I am sure as I am writing this now that the Lord will bless you all mightily.  As a church, you have a lot to offer a minister.  And, I’m sure as the Methodist system works, they will have a lot to offer you as well.  Anticipate good things.

One saying that gets passed down generation to generation and does NOT appear in the Bible is this: ‘The Lord works in mysterious ways, his will to make known.”  Indeed we cannot know the “times or epochs” of God’s full will and desire, and that’s a good thing too.  Embrace the mystery and the newness not as a call to “forced change” but for the surprises, pleasant and otherwise that will challenge you to grow in your faith as a church and as disciples of Jesus Christ.  Without being challenged we tend to fall back on habits and get too comfortable with things just the way they are.  Challenges ought to be embraced, relished as times to stretch and become more than we thought we could be – to reach heights previously out of reach.

Embrace the Rev. Kim Bosley and allow her to challenge and strengthen you faith.  Embrace the mystery of the Spirit and allow the Spirit to move you to places you never thought you wanted to go.  Embrace the pastor who is coming and offer them the same change you offered me; the change and privilege to be your pastor, your shepherd, your friend.  Thank you for the privilege, it has bee my best eight years so far!

God be with and bless each one of you!

Pastor Steve