Each year I am required (as all pastors are) to write a "Pastor's Report" for our annual Charge Conference. That meeting will be held next Sunday evening so I have written my report for this year, despite having only been here for four months. While this will appear in our newsletter in a week or so, what appears below is my report...
I’m the new guy. I arrived in July of this year. In reality I am still learning the lay of the land and the people of Trinity and I are learning about one another and learning to love one another. Our arrival here has been nothing short of amazing. The people of Trinity have bent over backward to love us and to make us feel welcome. Having said that however, it is important to remember that the unfortunate circumstances of the last year have been both difficult and painful for this congregation and our recovery will not happen overnight. Upon my arrival, I was the seventh or eighth pastor to walk through the door in ten months and yet another change only a little more than a year before that. The people of Trinity have been through a great deal of transition and change and we hope that now, together, we can begin to heal, rebuild, and move forward.
As I learned about the recent history of Trinity and the unfortunate events of the last year, I understood that I would encounter people who had been hurt, but the people of Trinity have not chosen to identify themselves with their pain or by what has happened to them. What I discovered here were people who refused to identify themselves as victims but instead as survivors. I expected to spend time helping people to heal, but instead I found a congregation that was eager to rebuild, to grow, and to move forward. Nearly every week I am approached with questions and ideas about how to reach out to people who need help, how we can be more welcoming, how to make our worship services more attractive and meaningful, and about how our church can make a larger impact in our community. The effects of this attitude are already being seen. Even now we see the return of some who had been absent and nearly every week we are joined by visitors who have heard of us through word of mouth or through the Internet and some of these are choosing to stay.
Because of all of the change that Trinity has already endured we do not yet have a long-term plan or a clear direction (although we have already scheduled a time in January to dream and to plan for 2013). What is both clear and obvious to us is that the spirit of Trinity church is unbroken and the Spirit of God lives and breathes in this place. We may not know what the future holds, but we know that God is with us, God loves us, and he wants what is best for us. We know that God is not finished with us yet. The Spirit of God is at work at Trinity Church.
God is present in this place and, with Him, we will face the future unafraid.