By Pastor Julie Wright
There’s something about the new year that causes us to reflect and then look forward. We clean house. Organize. Return to routines. Make resolutions and goals for the coming year. It’s a familiar pattern for many of us. And now, as February dawns, we enjoy seeing a bit more light from day to day. Even in the cold and dark of winter, new light is dawning. My toes, while still semi-frozen, have been painted a new shade of pink — a foreshadowing of spring that will eventually return – and along with spring, my sandals will at last come out of hiding.
In the season of Epiphany, we wait, hope and finally jump for joy when the light of Christ breaks into our world and our lives. The manger scene is still in our peripheral vision as we move beyond it into a new season – a season of light. It is in a new season in the life of the congregation that we find ourselves – a season of growth.
- With joy and deep gratitude, I have accepted the call to serve as Lead Pastor. This comes after serving this community for two years as Associate Pastor.
- Interim Pastor Roger Hardy has joined Amazing Grace part-time for a period of 3-6 months to assist with the transitions we are experiencing, to work with church council and staff, provide pastoral care, preaching and worship leadership, and supporting me in my role.
- Tim Marburger began serving as Children and Youth Minister in December. Tim brings 30+ years of experience to his role. At his installation, we welcomed 80 of Tim’s closest friends and colleagues! Now that’s a big welcome, Tim!
- Barb Forthun joined us in January as Sanctuary Choir Director, who comes to us with years of experience in music education and has directed choirs in several churches. We have enjoyed having Barb’s husband and children join the choir as well!
- Sunday School Co-Coordinators Kami Burgess and Trisha Ebensteiner bring their love of children and deep faith to the young people of this congregation. We are thrilled to welcome them in these new roles.
- In the neighborhood surrounding the church, hundreds of new homes are being constructed. These new neighbors are already starting to arrive and some have come to visit the church.
- Even the church office is in the midst of a makeover. Fresh paint and re-organizing is doing wonders to bring a fresh look to our work spaces.
Change can be exciting. But it can also be overwhelming and bring with it a flood of emotion – from grief to joy, stress and uncertainty. I want all of us to be in conversation about this season of change and growth, so we will be creating a new section of Amazing Grace’s website called, “We’re Growing!” This is where you can go for the latest updates on the transitions happening at Amazing Grace and the ministry we share, as well as strategic goals and initiatives in process.
The common thread that runs through scripture is that God is with us, as we sang all throughout Advent with the hymn, O Come, O Come Emmanuel. More than that, we celebrate in worship each week that our God is one of transformation, newness and growth. Together we rest in the promise:
See, I am making all things new. – Revelation 21:5
As your new Lead Pastor, I am in a season of my own growth and transformation. As I grow into this new role, I ask for your prayers and your blessing. Be in conversation with me and the rest of the staff. Come, visit our new office spaces. Be a partner with us in the newness and growth that is to come.
Our God does in fact make all things new – in God’s church, in our lives, and in the world. That is a powerful promise I will lean on in this season of change and growth. I invite you to do the same.