You’ve probably heard the news by now. After 14 years as your pastor, I will be appointed to Sand Point Community United Methodist Church in Seattle as of July 1st. I felt a change would benefit both the congregation and myself. The news came rather late in the appointment cycle (much later than I had wanted), but I am excited about the opportunity to serve Sand Point. They are a church that is similar to ours in membership and worship attendance. And just like when I first arrived here, their worship is very traditional. I promised them I would not to change too much in the first six months.
But that starts me reminiscing about all of the changes we have experienced together over the last 14 years. We changed our style of worship, and even experimented with two very different worship services for a year or so. We introduced multimedia (even though it wasn’t ideal, you were okay with covering up the rose window in the sanctuary with the screen) and brought drums and guitars into the worship service.
We went through a flood together. I will never forget how supportive and caring you were during that difficult time for our family, especially Alta and Snoopy who took the four of us in (and our pets) for 6 weeks while we tried to make new living arrangements. I watched in awe as large numbers of people descended upon the old parsonage to first, help us move out what things we could salvage, and to dump the rest, and secondly, get that parsonage dried out and on the market. I know we were not the only ones in the church who experienced the love and kindness of the church family.
We renovated and redecorated many of the rooms around the church. The Mary Room got a much-needed face lift, as we added a gas fireplace, and repainted. The front of sanctuary got renovated as we put took out the old choir loft that was up front, put down hard wood flooring throughout, and made the altar rails removeable. We have a very beautiful sanctuary. We also landscaped the church grounds adding to our “curb appeal.”
We witnessed watershed moments together as we celebrated Steve and Gordon’s wedding, and more recently as we voted to become a Reconciling Congregation. Missy and I personally watched our two boys thrive in their academics, each graduating with honors (Jake was the valedictorian of his class!). They both went on to graduate from the University of Washington. So, we saw an entire generation grow up together. We took two intergenerational mission trips together down to Salt Lake City where the UMCOR West Depot is located. We doubled up on our community dinners for a time. We grieved the loss of beloved church members together. And we’ve welcomed new friends among us.
But most of all, we formed deep and lasting relationships with one another. I know there will be lots of tears shed over the next couple of months (mostly by me). It has truly been an honor and privilege to serve as your pastor for as long as I have. And I know that God has great things in store for Centralia, or whatever name you decide on, United Methodist Church. Churches, like our lives individually, have seasons or chapters, if you will. A change in pastorate is often the ending of one chapter and the beginning of a new one.
I will celebrate and treasure the many accomplishments we were able to achieve together and the relationships built. Missy and I will miss all of you very much. I think the chapter we have written has been a pretty good one over all. And I look forward to following your ongoing story from a distance. I know that God has great things in store for this church!
Sermon Texts, Themes, and Titles for April
We strive to make worship meaningful, relevant, and challenging each and every Sunday.You are challenged to make worship a regular part of your life. You are invited to take some time to read the Scripture and reflect on the passages before each worship service.
April 7th: A New Thing! The Scripture will be Isaiah 43:16-21 and the theme will be the new thing God is leading us into.
April 14th: Not What We Were Expecting! The Scripture will be Luke 19:28-40 and the theme will be the upside-down Kingship of Jesus. This will be Palm Sunday.
April 21st: Ta-da! The Scripture will be Matthew 28:1-10 and the theme will be the resurrection of Jesus. This will be Easter Sunday!
April 28th: Circumstantial Evidence! The Scripture will be John 20:19-31 and the theme will be belief in the resurrection.
May 5th: Gone Fishin’! The Scripture will be John 21:1-14 and the theme will be staying faithful.
Worship is a vital part of a growing and vibrant faith. So, make sure you attend on a regular basis. And bring a friend or two with you. It’s a great way to introduce someone to Jesus.
Centralia First United Methodist Church 506 S Washington Ave 98531 360-736-7311