My July, 2015, farewell newsletter column for The Bellringer, my internship congregation’s monthly publication.
In my first column for the Bellringer nearly a year ago, I shared my excitement at beginning to serve in ministry with you, the people of God here at St. Peter Lutheran Church. I wrote how excited I was to see what God is doing in this congregation.
During this year, I’ve been blessed to get to know people in this congregation and to hear some of your stories. In my brief time serving here, I have seen God at work in, through, and among you. I’ve rejoiced at all those who give of themselves each week to make sure worship services happen. I’ve marveled at St. Peter’s commitment to giving away as much as possible of the bounty which God has generously entrusted to you. I’ve witnessed a commitment to living out the confident hope of God’s saving grace by sharing the good news of Christ in word and deed.
There are challenges as well. Being church together is not easy. At synod assembly last week, I heard a quote from The Reverend Elizabeth Eaton, our denomination’s presiding bishop, expressing her concern that the church not “be just a service organization with sacraments.” What does it look like to be a community centered in worship and sent out from worship into service in a time when church attendance across our country is falling? How will St. Peter find new ways to share the good news of Jesus Christ and reach out in love?
This year, I’ve gotten to share both joy and grief as part of this community of believers. But throughout my time here, I’ve seen God at work. I’ve seen a congregation with wonderful traditions, and a willingness to try new things following God’s call. I will remember my time of learning here with great gratitude.
Thank you for your hospitality, your willingness to let me experiment, the feedback you’ve given me, and the ideas and experiences you’ve given me to take beyond this place. Finally, thank you for your ongoing dedication to forming leaders for the wider church.
With gratitude in Christ,