Doesn’t it seem that Summers move quicker than they used to? We certainly have no cause to complain about this pasts summers weather,( it was amazing), and  now we start the slow, sometimes reluctant reentry into “Normal” and “regular” hours and routines. But we want to hold onto the past, don’t we, especially when it was so much fun?

I have trouble believing this is the beginning of my 11th year as your Pastor. It seems that Maureen and I just moved here, had a son in High School,  a son working close to home and another who was in Connecticut looking for work. Now, we are “empty nesters”, have a son further away in Texas, another happily married in Connecticut and the youngest now graduated, engaged and searching for a job he finds worthwhile. Lots of changes, plus I turned 60!

But in that process of remembering and changes, we cannot overlook what we have accomplished as a church family in 10 years.  We have started new traditions and programs, our membership rolls are steady, Sunday School had been re-invented, more events are planned with the community, our Free Community Dinners are a mainstay and we have a wonderful Youth Ministry.  With your support our budget is balanced, we are starting to make plans for future renovations and have embraced the tools of Social media to spread the word of what we do!  We continue to hold an important presence in our community, respected as a church which seeks to use our resources to care for our neighbors.  We have eaten a lot of meals together, (especially cake), made a lot of music together, served a lot of people together, and prayed a lot of prayers together.   Our staff has grown and changed, too.  We have said goodbye to good friends who have followed God’s call to other places, and we have celebrated the promises of Jesus’ love in honor of many  who have passed away.  And we have worshiped God together week after week, year after year, proclaiming God’s goodness and celebrating God’s grace.

This congregation has changed a lot in 10 years.  I have changed a lot in 10 years, and each of you has changed in significant ways in 10 years.  The world has changed tremendously in 10 years, and our own town has changed, too.  The work that we are doing together is different now, and that change is good.  What has not changed is the abundant love  of the God who has called each of us to be a part of this congregation.

Pausing, I feel a deep sense of gratitude.  I still feel an awe at the privilege of calling myself your Pastor.  As we look forward, we see new lives we can touch, new tools we can use, and new visions awaiting on the horizon. But we cant accomplish any of them without your Presence, !

10 years seems like a long time, and yet it doesn’t because Jesus constantly reminds us that God is eternal.  God has always been with us, God is with us now, and God will remain with us forever.  Thanks be to God for our ministry together!

Welcome back! Get to work! (with joy!)