Rev. Jill Duffield
Senior Pastor

Happy New Year!

The turning of the calendar is a somewhat random marking of time, but it is, nonetheless, an occasion to reflect backwards and be intentional about moving forward. I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions, but I do like to pause and think about what I want to take with me from last year and what I want to anticipate in the new one.

If I had to describe 2022, I would liken it that old roller coaster at Carowinds, the Goldrusher. Any of you remember it? I am not even sure if it is still there. I remember it from when I was a child. As I recall it was moderately scary due to the rickety nature of the wood, no upside-down loops, just sharp turns and some fairly steep drops. 2022 felt like that, not the harrowing feeling of the Fury 325, no total upending, but enough twists and bumps to be unsettling and surprising, sometimes in good ways, others, well, not so much. Some familiar routines returned, but always with the uncertainty of an antiquated machine that could break down at any moment. Would the bar keeping us in hold? Would today be the day everything came to a screeching halt? Or was all that worry wasted energy?

What, I wonder, did we learn from this bumpy ride together? Maybe we held on to each other a little tighter. Maybe we let out a few screams along the way. Maybe we were grateful it wasn’t any more frightening than it was. I hope we had some fun along the way. I, for one, am exceedingly thankful that we’ve been on this roller coaster together. You’ve made the uncertainty bearable and the uphill climbs doable, the drops and turns more a cause for excitement than fear. I feel more confident that we’re going to be ok, if a little sore and breathless. Here’s the thing, though, I suspect, we’re not getting off this ride anytime soon, so…let’s buckle up for 2023!

As I think about what might be ahead this year, I am certain that it, too, will be full of surprises, some wonderful and others, well, not so much. However, I know God is, and will be, working through it all. We will continue to pray to be faithful, to see to follow Jesus, to try and discern God’s will and the movement of the Holy Spirit. We’ll be equipped for God’s call. We’ll have the gift of each other. We’ll laugh together and maybe scream upon occasion, too. We’ll trust that no matter how rickety it sounds, no matter how precipitous the drops or sharp the turns, the tracks will keep us on the path and we’ll get to the end together, ready to go get the photo of us looking simultaneously thrilled and terrified, proof that we survived, and even enjoyed the ride.

I suspect we’ll even want to go wait in line to get on again.