Greetings, beloved community! It is with joy that I greet you in the name of our risen Christ.
It is my great honor to accompany you in ministry. That’s my call – to walk with you as you listen to God, to each other, and to the community for the stirrings of the Spirit in your midst. How are those relationships lived out in this place? How does this beloved community point to Jesus? What kinds of relationships grow here? When God looks at this beloved community, where does God see God’s kingdom thriving through you?
Spoiler alert: That’s the journey we’ll take together. Given the rich history of this place, I imagine there’s a great number of stories that will be told about these relationships – with God, with each other, and with the community. My call is to listen to those stories, to reflect them back to you, and to encourage the work of ministry of all God’s beloved, baptized children.
I would humbly ask of you to help me by being generous with telling me those stories. What are your past memories and your future hopes for this beloved community? What might have been moments when this community, all-to-human, let you down or caused you pain? What have you been waiting to share with the deep hope of being heard?
As we build trust with one another, please know that one of my core personal and professional values is confidentiality. It is the cornerstone of all healthy relationships. If you are bold enough to entrust me with your private story, it remains your story to tell. I will not share personal stories told within the confidence of the pastoral office without your express permission to do so.
There will be places for us to listen as a community to one another, too. The Bible is filled with stories of God’s beloved – not perfect, not all-knowing, not all-together – but called and beloved people who God depends on to be God’s hands, feet, voices and hearts in a broken world. I believe that the power of the church is built on knowing our relationship with God through how we love, listen and care deeply to our relationships with each other.
That’s the work of God’s beloved community, lived out in all of the places where we find people gathered around THE water, and THE Word, and THE table. We’re the beloved community because that’s what Jesus has done for us. He has called us, and claimed us, redeemed us and loved us in spite of our brokenness and our shortcomings. We’re the beloved community because that’s how Jesus chooses to see us and what he believes about us first and best of all. In the name of the risen Christ, may it be so!
With prayers rising up for the journey,