Category Archives: Pastoral Letters

staying connected during this anxious time

A message from Pastor Jeff for us to read each week when we enter into virtual worship. Each week Pastor Jeff is giving us a Guided Worship to read and videos of his service to watch.

We bring anxious hearts with us to this time of worship. Our world is changing and the rules of social engagement are in flux. We meet today in isolation and attempt to bridge the physical divide by employing a technological fix for the distance between us. Yet the words of Jesus remind us of the communal nature of faith: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20) That statement has within it the implication that faith is more than sheer personal belief or action. Both our belief and our action are done in partnership with the gathered body of Christ. So to be called into “social distancing” is a true obstacle to the expression of genuine faith. And yet.

In these times when public safety trumps short-term inconvenience, we find ourselves as Christians trying to think of new ways to stay connected. It is to that end that I am providing this “guided worship.” Is it enough? No. What is required is our care and concern for those within our church, community, and world. What may yet link us together is prayer. Prayer knows no borders or boundaries. Prayer makes no distinction between rich and poor, sexual orientation, black or white, even Christian and non-Christian. It may yet prove to be that mystical force that keeps us connected in our care for each other and our service to God.

With that said, let us begin.

Continue reading staying connected during this anxious time

A Last Epistle

Dear Church Family,

This is my last letter to you. That makes me sad. I have loved serving here—loved the people, the sanctuary and building, and loved the Spirit as it has moved through you in this amazing time of healing, renewal and change. I wish I could spend many more years with you, but that has never been a possibility since I signed the pledge in my initial covenant promising that I would not seek to be your settled pastor. I have stayed almost three years, which is a year longer than I thought I would, and I am so grateful for that extra time! I came to do the job of an interim, and part of that job is to leave before our hearts would have me leave.

Another part of the job is to send you off into the future along the path that we have discerned together, the path that leads to what God is calling you to be and do. I think of the scene in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit when Gandalf has led Bilbo and the Dwarves to the edge of the dark forest of Mirkwood. They are standing where the path enters that unknown future of opportunity and danger, the path they know they need to take to fulfill their purpose in life. They are distressed that Gandalf is not traveling it with them. They hear him call his final wisdom as he rides off: “Don’t leave the path!”

My most important message to you is, “Don’t leave the path!” Continue reading A Last Epistle

Responding to Paris Attacks by Being the Church

Dear Church Family,

Jesus lived in a world where there were terrorists, fundamentalist extremists and violent revolutionaries. The politics of hate were pursued with religious fervor. Jesus felt the same emotions that we are experiencing in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris. His teachings and his life model were offered as a way to live in just such a world as we face today.

The church exists to help us follow Christ’s way in all dimensions of our daily lives, from the personal to the political, from private mundane pleasures and stresses to public moments of extreme joy or grief.

So in this time, the best thing that we can do is to be the church.
Continue reading Responding to Paris Attacks by Being the Church