There is a congregational meeting on Sunday, July 26 at 10:30 am in the sanctuary, and I hope you’ll attend. The purpose of the meeting is twofold. First, you vote to elect Karen Wagner to serve as a deacon, filling an unexpired term for the class of 2016. This meeting is typically quick and simple. The second part of the meeting is a little unusual.
You vote on extending me a call to serve as your pastor. Yes, I am already your pastor, and yes you have to call me again. In the fall of 2012 you called me to be your designated pastor. That word designated is important because it means my call is for a particular period of time, three years. We are now at the end of that time, and so we have to decide what to do next.
In April you received a letter from the Grace Session inviting you to talk with them about this process. I expressed to the Session that I continue to feel called here and want to remain as your pastor. They received feedback from you, the congregation, and the sense the Session got is that the congregation wants me to continue on as pastor. It’s great that we’re on the same page!
The next step was for the Session to approve my new terms of call. These are available to you beginning on Sunday, July 19. This all is approved by a committee of the presbytery. In June, Sandy Remsberg, who serves on the Session, and I met with this committee and all was approved. The next step is for you to call me at the congregational meeting on July 26. The final step is for the entire presbytery to confirm the call at the August 11 meeting. Once that is complete I will be installed, again, as your pastor.
In many ways this is cumbersome, but it’s important. Some of you will recall that three years ago we had just come through a hard season as a church. The decision to call me for a designated period gave the congregation the chance to catch its breath. I’m grateful for the last three years and excited about what God will do with this congregation in the future.