After a very long and cold winter, I think we can safely assume that the snow and cold are behind us. Or at least the snow. The Community Garden is open, and gardeners are busy already. Our Northwest Intermountain Synod will elect the new bishop that will serve us for the next 6 years. And your pastor’s last Sunday is May 7. Somethings will change, some will stay the same.
Pastor Mike Grabenstein will be your Sunday Pulpit Supply preacher until the synod finds an interim pastor or a pastor to serve in a transitional capacity. Things will be different on Sunday mornings: sermons might be longer, the order of service may change, there may be new songs to sing. I know that change can be stressful but practice taking these small changes in stride. Bigger ones are on the way.
When you call a new pastor, he or she may be married or single, may have children or not, gay or straight, may or may not have a spouse that can be involved in the life of the congregation. I hope you respect boundaries and encourage your new pastor to take 2 days off a week and all their vacation time. Part of a pastor’s job is to be happy and healthy and that only happens when they take time off, care for their loved ones, exercise regularly and practice self-care. A stressed-out pastor does not do good ministry.
Change is stressful and it takes time to adjust to new things. But you, as a congregation and as individuals, have weathered much more difficult changes than what will come in the next several months. So, I am confident that you will make the next pastor feel as loved and appreciated as you have me. I know that you have much good ministry to do in this neighborhood and in the world. And that is what stays the same: God blesses us to be a blessing to others. The grace of God is the foundation of who we are and what we do. And that never changes.
God bless you all,
Pastor Bob Albing (ret.)