Pastor's Message - 2019 July Newsletter


Isaiah 6:8-“Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I; send me!"”

 

It was a great joy to be part of Pastor Randy’s 40th anniversary celebration on June 15th. A good number of members of our various congregations, along with Pastor Randy’s family and friends, gathered to share good food, memories, and music. The next day, I celebrated my 64th birthday, and I remembered that in another year I will have served as a pastor for 35 years. While these celebrations are joyful, they cannot help but remind us that we are growing older. I have been more powerfully reminded of this by my several visits to the hospital in the last few years. I have set a retirement date-July 1st, 2025, about 6 years from now, provided that my health holds out. Of course, you know they say that if you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans-perhaps He’s chuckling right now! But the one thing that is certain is that the day of my retirement will come. And some day, Pastor Randy will retire. When we leave, there will be a call process, and other pastors will be sought-but they may be difficult to find, given the smaller number of clergy that are available, and the smaller number of clergy willing to locate to rural areas.

 

What this means is that if ministry in our congregations is to continue, we will need lay leadership that is ready to step up if needed. I remember some years ago Pastor John Kreidler, then on synod staff, came out and preached. In his children’s sermon, he invited the kids to come up to the pulpit and asked them, “Can you picture yourself preaching a sermon?” He also took them to the altar and the baptismal font and asked, “Can you picture yourself giving out communion-or baptizing?” Now, I want to ask you the same question-could you picture yourself doing any of those things-maybe not as a career, but once in a while, on a Sunday when Intern Kim and Pastor Randy and I aren’t available? Or could you see yourself having coffee with someone in the nursing home-or visiting someone in the hospital? There is training available for lay people to do all of this and more through the Parish Ministry Associate program. If you are interested, you can call the Synod Office at 913-948-9701-they’ll give you all the information. Ideally, I would like to see every congregation in our Synod have at least one PMA, so there would always be someone to step in-someone who would say, “Here I am-send me!”

 

Pastor Jon Anderson

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