Greetings in the name of our brother and savior, Jesus the Christ!
I am coming one last time to you all. Where to start, well 11 years ago you gave a “let’s try Pastor Luis” a go. We have experienced the highs and lows of ministries, we have laughed together and, yes, cried together. We have witnessed many baptisms, welcomed new members by confirmation and other ways as well, and sent forth many into life eternal. May God be praised! Throughout these past 11 years, we have been blessed by a creative and gifted staff, which I am forever grateful for all they offered and how they served us. It is so wonderful to hear that many of them went onto great adventures, truly transforming the world.
In the last 11 years, we’ve experience so many transformations. From our style (form) of worship making sure we serve all generations represented in our congregation, as well as form (structure) of leadership adapting to these changes, and are currently working on a new structure centering on empowering people for mission and ministry.
It has been a great blessing working alongside amazing leaders and a wonderful staff who has kept me grounded and forced me to keep learning and growing.
There are many wonderful things that happened in our congregation. However, an important action following the actions of the General Conference of the UMC in 2019 took place in December of that year. We took a vote as a congregation to become a Reconciling Congregation (see statement of welcome on our website). Grateful for the journey to the Task Force and for us all in affirming that ALL God’s children are truly welcome here at the corner of Main & Maple.
The last two years (Pandemic Time) has been the most stressful time in our history, at least in my time with you. We learned very quickly how to be congregation in worship, mission, and ministry virtually. That did not happen by itself,. It was a team effort and how thankful I am for all the hours many people dedicated to make it happen. With God’s grace, we are coming back slowly and it feels good to be together. Hope everyone will come back in full force by this upcoming fall.
To all who took extra time to organize the sending forth luncheon on May 22… Norma and I cannot say enough “Thank YOU”. Thanks to all who shared their stories in how Pastor Luis impacted their lives. And to YOU All, thanks so much for your expressions of love, care, words of encouragement and YES for your generous gift (Norma loves the lilac plant and the United Women in Faith plant too).
And now, as I move to Sycamore for new adventures, I covenant to continue in prayer with you all as you welcome Pastor Michael Mann as your new Lead Pastor. I know that God is in the midst, so I invite you to re-discover/discern how God is calling in this new chapter of our journey of faith.
Looking forward to hearing all the great things God is about to do.
And all God’s people say “Amen”!
Blessings & peace,
Pastor Luis Felipe