“(Paul) planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.
So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God who gives the growth.” (I Corinthians 3:6-7)
As I write this last pastor’s page I realize that, paired with my first one in the July, 2003, Builder, it completes a pair of bookends. I am still humbled to serve with devoted and gifted elders, deacons, trustees, in line with officers, pastors, and presbyters over the many generations of Presbyterian history in the county.
Over the intervening years, God has reinforced the call for us to work together in the “garden” of Morgan County. As I expected, we’ve shared some satisfying labor (like Light House, Habitat, MCUM, Hunger Fund, VBS, Late Start Breakfast, MC2, study of scripture & world religions), some refreshing re-creation (like picnics, hayrides, bonfires, Dinner & a Movie), and some joyful, God-given harvests along with some inevitable disappointments.
I am incredibly grateful for your generosity in welcoming me into your homes and lives over these years. You have allowed me to share your celebrations, sorrows, and joys. I hope that our shared laughter and tears, prayer and sacraments, worship and study, mission and fellowship, have planted some seeds which may bear fruit in your continuing ministry. Knowing some of the growth God has been cultivating in the garden of my heart, soul, and character encourages me to hope that God’s bounty is evident in your deepening faith, too.
In its commentary on the conclusion of the Lord’s Prayer, the Westminster Shorter Catechism states that it teaches “us to take our encouragement in prayer from God only.” I have appreciated time with several members during the last month and I’m looking forward to more interludes according to your requests. My hope for these times is to remember what we’ve shared and to pray with gratitude for treasured aspects of our relationships.
I pray with expectant hope for God’s work among you in the future. As Paul points out, an ending to one pastor’s ministry always comes. I am confident that God is already preparing the next pastor for Morgan County Presbyterians. While I will soon say good-bye as your pastor, my love for you will continue. After all, Paul encourages us:
Love Never Ends. (1 Corinthians 13:8)
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever. Amen.
(Lord’s Prayer, Ecumenical, Book of Common Worship)