Hello everyone! Welcome to my first column for The Broadcaster, which I’ve decided to call “Chesser Chat.” Even though I do not officially start as your pastor until February 1st, Pastor Jerrie was kind enough to give me this space to introduce myself a bit further and prepare you a little bit for my arrival. As I am very excited about coming (just two weeks from the day that I am writing this letter) I thought this would be a perfect time to say hello to everyone.
I would like to start by thanking a few people. First, thank you to Pastor Jerrie for guiding the congregation through the final months of this pastoral transition period. Being an interim minister is never an easy job, and certainly this is even more true during a pandemic. Thank you to the search team for their hard work over the past few years. I’m sure everyone recognizes the large amount of work that goes into the search process; what not everyone realizes is that it can also be an emotionally exhausting process. We all owe a debt of gratitude to those five.
Thank you to all of you, the WCBC congregation, for entrusting the ministry of the church to me. It was a major decision, and I feel both blessed and humbled in your confidence in my ability to serve this church. Finally, I owe all thanks to God for calling me to ministry in Warwick. God could have sent me anywhere with any kind of people; it is my great fortune that God sent me somewhere with such kind and generous people.
So what happens now? My last Sunday at FBC Norwich is January 31st; I will then begin work immediately in Warwick. Right now, we are in the middle of the house-selling process, and with no offers on the table right now, it seems clear to me that my family won’t be able to move to Warwick on February 1st. For the first bit of time (let’s all pray for a short time) I will be commuting into the church office a few days a week, and working from home for a few days. I also intend to come into the church on Sunday mornings, even though I’ll be alone. I think having a pastor in the physical pulpit will be a good restoration of some sense of normal, even if no one else will be in the church with me.
One of my first priorities when coming is to get to know everyone. This is obviously not as easy during a pandemic, but fortunately we are blessed with technology which allows us to communicate. I will be trying to reach out to as many people as possible, but of course there are a lot more of you than there are of me, so if you’d like I’d encourage you to give me a call sometime to just say hi! My cell phone number is 860-215-1229, and my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you just so I can get to know you. As I mentioned earlier I’ll also be going into the church office a few days a week, so feel free to put on a mask and come by to say hello in a socially distanced way.
Let me leave you in closing with perhaps my favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” My friends, I believe God has some special things in store for us in 2021, and I for one cannot wait to see what those things are. See you all soon!