Amazing Grace

My heart is still full after the wonderful day we had on Sunday! Dedication Day was all I had hoped for-- and so much more. Thank you, Roger, for putting together a service that was such a blessing.

I really hadn't anticipated the emotions I felt seeing the platform filled with children, teenagers, and adults, singing their praises to God. But tears filled my eyes more than once. Bill Kilmer outdid himself on Amazing Grace. The bagpipes were a special touch, too—and I don't usually like bagpipes. The choral blessing at the end was very meaningful and touching-- especially the line, "And their children. And their children. And their children." We built this facility for them, you know.

Thank you to all who participated in the service, and to all who attended. We counted 1,190 (780 in the room, and 410 online). Decisions were made for Christ and church membership, too.

Interestingly, one of my favorite parts of the service was the 8 mm film at the beginning, showing original construction in 1954. The lone worker standing atop it all, receiving the steeple and putting it into place. The antique cars in the parking lot. Every woman wearing a hat in the first worship service! Dr. Campbell standing behind the large pulpit.

If Sunday was my last service with you as your pastor, I would leave content and grateful.

And then there was the Fall Festival in the afternoon—easily our biggest and best one ever! Thank you, Pastor Kim, and all your many volunteers, for putting together this excellent gift to our community. No one can doubt that FBCA is a happy, friendly place that loves children!

It didn't hurt that the weather was perfect!

This coming Sunday is going to be a big day, too, and most consequential.  I had dinner one-night last week with a family in our church. I married the parents several years ago and dedicated each of their three children. I have baptized the eldest-- a girl now in the fourth grade. She asked: "Exactly how are we going to get a new pastor?” I'm the only one she has known. I explained that the process gets started on October 31 when we nominate people for the Pastor Search Team. They then get down to work and everyone trusts God to guide them in their quest. It could take awhile. I knew that her grandfather in North Carolina had served on just such a committee in another church a few years ago. "He can tell you all about it", I said.

I hope that you are going to participate in this process and come with your names ready—you may nominate up to seven individuals. Prayerfully consider men and women of spiritual depth and discernment. People who have no agenda but to find a faithful shepherd for our church. This is the only way our system can work.

I will be the speaker for NorthStar pastors at our meeting tomorrow. My assigned topic: As Time Goes By, reflections on a half- century of pastoral ministry. The things I've learned along the way, some of the mistakes I have made, how I've managed to stay with it all these decades. My talk is not quite ready yet-- the meeting is not until tomorrow morning-- but I will eventually share it with you, too. My goal is to encourage my friends, some who may be quite discouraged these days.

After this past weekend, I am more hopeful than ever.



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