Living in the midwest involves a change of seasons. That’s why most midwesterners say they like living here. We enjoy change. We are coming up on fall. With it comes the start of schools. Football. Soccer. And many other sports. Weather-wise it involves changes in color of the leaves. And then the leaves falling to the ground. And the days becoming shorter and cooler as we head into winter.
Park Presbyterian Church is experiencing a change of seasons, too. You have already witnessed significant change. The pastor and her family have moved some distance away. You have had to engage supply preachers to fill the pulpit for the past several weeks and likely for a few more at least. In the midst of all this the session has begun meeting with presbytery representatives to secure a moderator and to begin the process of searching for an interim pastor who can lead you until you call an installed pastor. You have already begun a program that will help you discern how God is leading you into the future: New Beginnings. It is often a pain to go through this process but it is the way Presbyterians do such things. The more involvement from members of the congregation the more helpful the process will be.
There are other changes – less arduous ones. The choir returns from its summer sabbatical, and with it more consistent musical offerings. There is also the beginning of Sunday School – children, youth and adult. They become opportunities to grow our minds about what we profess to believe. They are all chances for us to mature as Christians through service and study. I hope you will take part in the ones that best suit you.
Since I have been filling your pulpit I have been encouraged. (I have been to many different churches and I was not encouraged about all of them.) I have been encouraged mostly by what I see is a very hopeful attitude about the future. I don’t hear people complaining about what’s being done or what’s not being done. I see a church that is open to change. I see a church that is optimistic about what God will be doing in and through this church. Sure, there is the need for more money and for more young families. Most churches in Streator need those. But in general, I see a church that is eagerly anticipating just who will be your Interim and, beyond that, who will be your pastor.
One Scripture passage that I come back to again and again is in Paul’s letter to the church in Philippi. It’s right in the beginning where Paul is telling them how regularly he prayed for them (1:4 – 6): “In all of my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
In the midst of the change of seasons around here, I urge you to hold on to that confidence, too.
Best wishes in Christ,
Spencer Lawrence, Pulpit Supply