I write to you today from ‘preacher camp,’ where with these dear pastor friends of mine, I’ve spent several days in the mountains immersed in the work of the pastorate. Our trust and love for one another, for God, and for the church seem to run as deep and wide as our conversations do: from the broad (like the overarching vision for our churches, how we interpret scripture in these challenging times, church structures physical, emotional, and systemic) to the specific (like the language we use in communion, how to run a good meeting, or best practices for pastoral care) Even as we plan our preaching for the 2018-2019 liturgical year, we’re telling stories in the midst of it all, bearing witness to how we see God at work in you, in the world, and in our midst. The ground we’ve covered together has been nothing short of holy.

I’ve told you before about these few days of preacher camp each year, days which encourage me as a pastor ‘for the living of these days’ with you. And as our work here winds down, I prepare to return home renewed for the work of ministry alongside First Baptist Church on Fifth for such a time as this.

Sunday’s overwhelmingly positive vote to proceed with Phase One of our building project is for us a remarkable moment to pivot us from years of discernment and deliberation in which we have listened carefully to God’s guidance, into days, weeks, and months ahead of action. Even as plans and drawings on a page come to life all around us, I feel confident we will be no less faithful in asking God to lead us forward. For our trust and love for one another, for God, and for God’s church are as deep and wide as the stories our church has told in the past, tells in the present, and will proclaim into the future.

There will be days ahead to clean out and days to reorganize, days for grieving and days for celebrating, days where the dust flies and days where it will settle. As Ecclesiastes promises us, everything has its season and a purpose under heaven. In this season, I give thanks to God to be your pastor, and for this odd and wondrous life together we share!

Together in the work of Love,
Pastor Emily

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