You would think that upon starting my ninth (!) appointment, I would have a first column set in stone that I could just hand in to the Administrative Assistant/Secretary. The problem with that idea is that every church, every community and every year is unique so each “first” column needs to be unique as well.
I come to Fairbury with great hope and an assurance that God has things for us to do together. I have already heard of great things happening here with growing attendance, growing stewardship of time and resources, growing new programs like Awaken service just to name a few.
You have entered a new time. And so have I. As I start ministry in this time and place I come as a lighter person–literally and figuratively. I have been working on taking better care of the body gifted to me by God and am literally 70 pounds lighter than I was 9 months ago with plans to keep going. I am emotionally lighter with the wonderful and gracious welcome I have received. I thank everyone who has helped make the improvements at the parsonage possible and who have extended a warm welcome through spoken words, written notes, thoughtful gifts and ready smiles. It is always a time of grieving for a moving pastor as relationships must change as well as physical location. You have done a tremendous job of lightening the grief.
Spiritually I feel lighter as I have leaned on God more closely than ever through this time of transition. I also know that I will be growing in my relationship during my extended Continuing Education at the Academy for Spiritual Formation. This event will take me to Nebraska eight times in the next two years to grow in my own relationship and to learn how to lead others to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God as well.
I began to pray for our ministry together as soon as I knew what my new appointment would be. Three prayers have kept coming to my heart and soul and I invite you to add them to your prayers. My first prayer is that we will love God and each other, relying on the Holy Spirit to guide us, teach us, and challenge us. My second prayer is that we will learn to love others in the same way, meeting their physical, emotional and spiritual needs. My final prayer is that through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness we will bring transformation to Fairbury and to the world.
Let us rely upon the God who spoke through the prophet Jeremiah: “For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. ” (Jeremiah 29:11, NRSV) – Pastor Ann