Dear People who God gathers as Shepherd of the Valley,
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
My first month as your pastor has been a full and fulfilling one. It began a little early with 15 high schoolers and 3 other adults heading to Reading, PA for the Group Work Camp Mission Trip and ended with Egypt VBS, involving more than 50 people in some important way. In between, Richard, Grace and I said goodbye to friends in Washington, DC and moved to our new (temporary) home in Westford, MA and were warmly welcomed by so many of you. Thank you for the overflowing gift baskets which have indeed been helping us settle in to the Nashoba Valley. Your gracious and thoughtful contributions to our transition are deeply appreciated! It’s been a great first month.
This year will be full of firsts. One practice I try to live by is to first listen. I am continually blessed by learning about the ways God has been at work in and through you. I am eager to learn your stories and your hopes for SOV so the executive committee of council set a goal for me to visit with each SOV household (loosely defined) before the new church season begins with Advent on November 27 and we head into our first Christmas together. These visits can be in a coffee shop, over a meal, in your home, walking out in the woods or anywhere that is convenient. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and set up a visit with me! I am available at various times through the day, although my time off each week will begin Thursday afternoons after the lunch hour and continue through Saturday mornings. Of course I am available in case of emergencies at any time, but I will strive to honor this Sabbath time and ask that you do so as well.
In addition to these visits I will be observing and participating in the various activities of the congregation whether at the Grange, in people’s homes or out in the community. I hope to see you at Mirror Lake the afternoon of Sunday, August 21 for our summer picnic as well as at Groton Fest on Saturday, September 24! As I listen and learn, I will continue to prayerfully discern the vision God has for SOV and how we will respond to God’s mission together.
Sunday, September 18 will be an opportunity to formally and liturgically seal the relationship between me as your pastor and you as a congregation. There will be an afternoon service of installation with a simple reception. You are also invited to our home on Sunday, October 2 for a house blessing. A more official invitation will follow.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the LORD. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” – Jeremiah 29:11
I pray we have a good future together and a hope that rests in God’s grace and mercy through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit!