Abiding Savior Lutheran Church
Pastor’s Report to the Congregation
December 8th, 2019
Dear People of Abiding Savior,
God does truly dwell among you, as your name says!
I feel such deep and true joy to be abiding with you as well. I already love your warm welcome, your open spirits, your playful creativity, the depth of your thoughts, and your faithful commitment.
I have been with you only a little more than a month, so I have almost nothing to report, but am full of hopes and dreams for our future together.
My deepest passion is telling people about the unconditional, all-inclusive, never-ending love of God in Jesus Christ, and building communities built on that love. Experiencing that love myself has transformed me, and from it comes both the love I feel for you, and my desire for a more just and loving world. I know that each of you have also been transformed by the love of God in Christ, and join me in this desire for a better world and an always more loving congregation, that will welcome even more and more people.
From this love also comes my other, connected passion: helping those who have been hurt by church, or just find church irrelevant, to experience this Divine love as well. Because I am reaching out to people who don’t always speak church language, or who don’t already love church culture, you will sometimes hear me using different language, and behaving in different ways, than you sometimes see pastors use and behave. But I hear that perhaps that isn’t so new for you anyway!
My priorities in these first few months are simply to get to know you as individuals and as a congregation, and to also get to know our community. You’ve already started inviting me into your houses, favorite restaurants and coffee shops, and into the great outdoors of Columbia. I hope that you keep doing that, and that you’ll also start introducing me to important people to know her in Columbia. I will gradually start contacting those of you I haven’t received invitations from, asking when I can set up a time to get to know you.
Once I get to know you, and the community, better, I will have so many ideas for our worship together, for outreach to our community, for our growth and success. But I want each of these to grow from our relationships, and to be appropriate to who you are, and our context here.
Here are some things you can expect from me, as your pastor: I am here to teach and preach the Good News of God’s love in Jesus Christ, to tend to your spiritual, and sometimes emotional needs, and to lead this congregation. I will trust that God has been working in you long before I met you, and is still working in and through you now. I will look for the image of God in you, and honor you for the miraculous person you have been created to be. I will comfort you when you are afflicted, and challenge you when you are comfortable. I will mess up, and ask for your forgiveness. I will forgive you when you mess up. When we disagree, I will stay in relationship with you, seeking to understand you. I will seek to care for myself so that I can better care for you, and I will be careful to have professional boundaries that will keep you safe.
More practically, you can expect that I will often be out and away from the office, since my priorities are to be with you and the community. You will be able to find me here on set office hours (to be determined, probably Tuesdays and Thursdays) but often I will be in your homes, and out and about Columbia. I also do reading, writing, and research from my own couch sometimes. I will, however, be easy for you to reach- you have my cell phone, social media, and email. Feel free to call or text me anytime. If I am with someone else, or if it is my day off (Fridays) I will let it go to voicemail. Please do leave me a message, so that I know if this is a pastoral emergency to be attended to right away, or something that can wait until I’m at work. If you have a life or death emergency, the death of someone you love, a medical crisis, or anything of the sort, I am on call for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
I look forward to many joyful, challenging, productive, and fruitful years together!
No matter who you are, no matter what you have done, no matter what has happened to you in your life, God’s love for you in Jesus Christ is unconditional. Come, let us live in that love together.