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All Things New

August 28, 2014

I was speaking with a friend earlier this week, describing my first week back after my twelve-week sabbatical. I mentioned that I was spending my time meeting with key leaders to hear about what happened over the course of the summer and what’s on the horizon, as well as catching up on key pastoral care needs. It dawned on me that I spent my first week back at St. Peter’s doing exactly what I would do in my first week in a new call. The only difference is that I know the cast of characters. Otherwise, everything is brand new. Neither you nor I are the same people we were three months ago, and St. Peter’s is not the same congregation. This, of course, is exactly what was supposed to happen. And it is what always happens when God is involved. St. Paul promises us that “if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

It is a joy for me to behold the new things God is doing at St. Peter’s! I’ve been blessed to hear about our wonderful children’s and youth ministry events over the summer, including our first-ever Agape Day Camp. I’ve been excited to hear about the continued growth of our service ministries and our expanding fellowship opportunities. I have rejoiced to see the new spirit of joy that is moving through St. Peter’s Lutheran School. For this, I want to offer a special word of thanks to our Interim Director, Heather Javoroski, and our new Director, Ginny Deeter. You have done and continue to do amazing work!

I, of course, have been made new, too. Our summer was amazing, refreshing, and deeply spiritual. We walked the ancient streets of Budapest and saw how our ELCA, through Young Adults in Global Mission, is making a difference in the lives of those most in need around the world. We found refreshment with friends and an insight into post-Communist Christianity in Eastern Europe. We walked in Luther’s footsteps in Wittenberg for two weeks while I was blessed to preach God’s Word of freedom in the birthplace of the Reformation. We reconnected with family and our heritage in Norway.

I explored the roots of my faith at Waypost Camp in central Wisconsin, working with high school youth for two weeks – fourteen amazing young women and men who helped me remember just what a blessed calling it is to be a pastor. I read a bunch of the books that had piled up on my shelves these last few years. Oh, and I saw the Royals play (and win!) three times. More important than anything, perhaps, I got to spend time with family. The restorative power of intentional time with Erika, with the children, and with extended family cannot be overstated.

So, thank you. Thank you for the gift of this time away. I have rediscovered the promise of newness that Christ extends to us each day.

Special thanks, of course, go to Pastor Moody, our wonderful staff, your faithful Congregation Council, our Committees and the School Board, and each one of you. Thank you. Now let’s see what new thing God will do in and through us next.

With great joy,
Pastor Dave

This post is also the cover article for the September 2014 issue of Connections, the newsletter of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

From → Sabbatical 2014

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