When families gather to say goodbye to their loved ones, we gather in the Virginia Gilmer Room prior to the service. Often I find myself in the hallway, you know the one with all the saints that have gone before, the wall of elders. Many who have never been to our church ask questions and are curious, many gather to point out the ones they remember, perhaps their own relatives telling the current generation about the past of this church.
I, too, reflect on the past of this church, and on my growing up in the preschool and Sunday school, youth trips and countless worship services. Great and beautiful memories. I know when we celebrate the church’s 200th anniversary, we will tell the stories of the past. But we are not called to stay in the past.
In this present time at FPC, myself and many others are aware that God is doing something new. That God continues to speak and to lead if we would but listen and make space to be aware. We continue to receive new members, others that have been away, that are returning. Families come to worship and bring their children. The folks that are joining are not wanting to simply be in the pews but want to engage in ministry, building on the present and looking forward to the future.
I am excited about what is happening at FPC now and look forward with great anticipation to what God has in store for the future of this church. Each of you plays a role, each of you has a calling here.
Even tomorrow a new chapter in this church begins. Presbytery will receive Matt, our new associate for outreach, and Presbytery will affirm my call to serve as your associate for pastoral care. I am humbled and honored to serve.