Message from the Senior Pastor
Holy-days greeting to you! I am off this week to complete work on my doctorate, hoping to get a full draft of first revisions in to my advisors by January 2. I am grateful to have had a wonderful Christmas with you, friends, and family. I also had time to sit outside by the fire pit and watch the sun go down, go for long walks, share great meals with dear friends and get good sound sleep.
Our Christmas Eve eve Hospitality Concert with Bellamy and Richard Bailey, Genevieve Tranum and Renee Lee was a tender and joyful gathering for a celebration of the Christmas story in which there is room in the inn for a family needing refuge from the night. The concert was part of Bellamy’s Girl Scout project. The performers from sixth grade to a junior in college gave their time, energy, and great gift of music to support the Rincon Hospitality Project, which provides safe space for at risk and vulnerable people in our community. I wish I had a picture of Bellamy’s face when I announced that they had raised $1,052 that Saturday, with more donations coming in before and after the concert. Thanks to these children and young adults for showing us all what Christmas looks like in our time.
This was the first Christmas since I have been at Rincon that we have held Christmas Eve services in the morning and evening, which allowed some to go home after the Service of Lessons and Carols for holiday festivities, and then return for the 9pm Candlelight Service. Many thanks to Bryan Van Gelder and Alex Tentser, the choir, Stranger band, and harpists Richard and Bellamy Bailey for beautiful music and song that carried us into the heart of the nativity story. Ginger Taylor, Jenn Thorn, and Rebecca Egbert costumed, rehearsed and directed the children’s part in the service. No, Billy’s throwing himself in my lap was not rehearsed, but was a delightful addition to the night. Thanks too to David Stone who organized ushers, communion servers, and greeters, to David and Linda and Billy for the beautiful decorations, Chris Jones for recording the services, and Nancy Congdon for all her work on bulletins and sending parts to readers. Thanks to Karen Melik for putting the pews back in order afterward.
Thanks too to Revs. Rich Smith for preaching on December 17th, and Inge Detweiler for preaching and leading worship this Sunday. This is the first Christmas season I have made it through without getting sick. Pacing is everything and this year, I had lots of help getting to the manger and beyond.
Thanks to our Church Ministry Teams, to Church Council, to the Pastoral Relations Committee, Southwest Conference Conference Minister, the Committee on Ministry B, and Mediation Team for helping us over some bumps in the road. We do need each other to survive and thrive and the UCC offers great resources for local churches to do just that.
As I head into the last half of my fifth year, I look back at all the moments of Being Church with you. Pastoral visits, worship, community outreach, small groups, ministry team and Council meetings, special programming, times with children and youth, weddings and memorial services, and all the work that goes into Being Church. I am amazed and humbled and grateful to walk with you into a new year and beyond.
I know the New Year promises both joy in the journey and bumps along the way. May we come together around the table set for all of God’s people to rejoice and sing, console and encourage, and advocate and animate in word and deed as God-bearers to each other, our church, community and the world.
Peace, joy and justice on your way,
Read the Thursday E-letter for January 11, 2018 here.