As you probably know, I’m working just 3/4 time through the end of the year. I’m attempting to create a work routine that’s fairly predictable, for your sake as well as my own. Right now it looks something like this: I’m here on Sundays from 9:00-1:00. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I’m at the church from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 or 4:00, and on Tuesdays from 1:30-4:30 or 5:00 (and later when there are evening meetings). I’ll tend to use the mornings for sermons and other kinds of preparation, but from noon on I’m available for meetings and visits with you. Please feel free to schedule some time with me or to take your chances on dropping by. Meanwhile, I’ll be trying to meet all of you and learn your names, and I’ll enjoy connecting with various ministry and social groups in the church.
For now, then, I don’t plan to be at the church on Fridays or Saturdays, though I’ll be responsive to emergencies and needs for hospital visitation. You might also like to know that Fitz and I try to practice a Sabbath on Fridays. Unless there’s an emergency – or a presbytery meeting! – we try to lay aside our work for 24 hours. This nurtures our trust in God’s work and creates a time of refreshment for us.You may always reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; and by phone at 503-667-6800 (church); 360-608-4264 (mobile).
I realize that the time between permanent pastors is an awkward period for a congregation. But it also holds a lot of potential. I believe that. Overall it’s my intention to support your life together during this interim time, and to join you in preparing for your next permanent pastor.
Finally, I wish simply to mention the upcoming General Assembly in Pittsburgh June 30-July 7. I feel you should be aware that this Assembly may decide to change the definition of marriage. If it does, news stories about the change will be prominent in national and local media. My impression is that Smith Memorial hasn’t focused on issues of human sexuality in the past, and there may be quite a diversity of views and feelings within the congregation on this subject. Since I’m new here, may I make just a couple of suggestions? First, if you become confused or alarmed by any General Assembly action, please feel free to contact me directly. I’d be glad to spend some time with you. Second, whatever your personal opinions or convictions may be on these issues, please be aware that there’s no need to panic. There will be plenty of time to learn about and process the General Assembly actions here at Smith, if you wish to do so; and the Session has begun to consider that possibility, thinking about what might be most helpful and beneficial. They and I would welcome any input you have.
Warmly in Christ,
November 23 is Dedication Sunday
Pastor Laurel will be preaching on Romans 12 during the month of November. It begins like this: I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
These are mighty words. What Paul’s really saying is this: “If you believe this good news which I’ve just spent the last eleven chapters unpacking and laying out for you, then hand yourself over entirely to God.”
2420 NE Fairview Ave
PO Box 69
Fairview, OR 97024
Tel: (503) 667-6800