So we’ve come to another New Year. However intentional we are (or not!) with resolutions, we sense the transition marked on a calendar and felt in our lives. We review the past months and experiences we’ve shared, for better or for worse. We look forward to anticipated joys and unexpected challenges that are sure to arise. And through it all, we long to live with meaning and purpose and peace.
As we mark the New Year in our congregational life, there are transitions continuing in our ministry and in the society around us. In this Presbyter, you will find an update from Ginny Dell on progress with our Associate Pastor search process. We are excited to be moving forward efficiently (thanks in part to all the good work done previously through the visioning process) and with great hopes for possibilities in this position, as we live into our priorities. See Ginny’s article for more detail. And Liz Hakken Candido, one of our Parish Associates, offers reflection on the church in society from the perspective of her work among the Kalamazoo College community. I encourage you to note her important insights.
We will also mark our transition in leadership positions with the ordination and installation of deacons and elders on Sunday, January 15. It is always a time of inspiring worship which makes me profoundly grateful to be Presbyterian, as we recognize, affirm, and nurture our shared gifts for ministry in God’s grace. In the many ways we seek to follow Jesus Christ, it is really a call to living faith that all of us share. As you consider responsibilities in your personal lives and your connection with our congregation, I wonder how you might nurture meaningful rhythms and routines?
Last year, I began service among the wider Presbyterian Church (USA) as a faculty member for CREDO. CREDO literally means “I believe” or “I give my heart to …” Clergy who are actively serving in our denomination are invited to spend a CREDO week of reflection on all facets of a healthy life and ministry – spiritual health, mental health, physical health, financial health, vocational leadership, etc. I serve as spiritual faculty. Among many things I love about CREDO is the encouragement to formulate a personal “rule of life”. It’s sort of like New Year’s Resolutions on steroids! These aren’t legalistic rules for judgment, but more like guidelines, patterns, rhythms, and routines we identify to help nurture a vibrant life with God and service to others.
CREDO has been such a good experience, I wonder if there are ways we can use that kind of inspiration in our congregation. In truth, the simple fact is that we all have such rhythms and routines which we’ve formed, for better and for worse. The question really is how intentional we are about them. Christians in all ages have tried to be intentional in different ways, with varying practices and emphases. I seek to follow a rule of the Iona Community, with which I am associated. And I’ve modified their rule a bit to suit my personality and situation. In coming weeks of worship we will tell again the stories of the first disciples following Jesus. In that spirit, on Sundays January 29–February 19, I plan to offer reflection on some rhythms or priorities that I find important and helpful. Maybe they could catalyze reflection and practical inspiration for you, as well. And as ever, if you wish to speak further about any of these matters, please simply contact me!
Grace and peace to you,
The Reverend Dr. Seth Weeldreyer, Pastor