Greetings in the name and spirit of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Many of you reading this may wonder why, after some years away, I have returned to live among you for the next year and a few months. You are not alone. I, too, have wondered the same. Well, it is about a list of “REs”.

Quite frankly, I am persuaded this is not my idea but reflects a desire of God. We should, of course, be quite humble in assuming a directive we receive is from God. Thus, when the spirit first moved me I talked it over with Natalie and took your former District Superintendent, Larry Baird, into my confidence. (It was Larry who first brought me to Hurlbut in 2008). I shared with several others, as well with these questions: What do you think? Is this a good idea? Do you think I am spiritually and mentally up to this call to help this congregation refocus their life in this location? Most comments were generally positive, although one ministerial colleague said quite bluntly, “Not a good idea, you are too old!”

Nonetheless, here I am, out of mothballs as one described it.

Beloved of God, we do face a new world from the one that greeted us in 2008.

More and more people in our culture are distanced from religious bodies. Many of us are, quite frankly, older. COVID dealt us a serious blow. Religious needs and affiliations change and persons we care for go elsewhere to satisfy those needs. Old and recent wounds to to the spirit have driven some away. We share, as well, in the divisions within our society where stresses and fractures in families and communities are serious and rupture long standing relationships. We just cannot depend on old and established ways of going about business to help us stay the course. As one Christian writer has said, “we face adaptive challenges”.

My prayer life intensified as I pondered this call. One message from God was this, “I cannot guarantee you any results. But, I will be with you.”

So, I, and you all who share in a call to do the work of ministry, can at least take assurance that God’s promise to be with us is not “fake news”. Daily I pray for God’s assistance and the wisdom on my part to discern God’s will for my life in this time. With God, I share the passion to REfocus, REnew, REshape, REform, REvitalize, REconcile, REenergize, REorient, REgrow, and Refamiliarize ourselves in the biblical witness that leads us to in faith and hope and love our community of faith.

If you are one, even from a distance, who is led to share in our call to discipleship, we cherish your support.

If your call is elsewhere, we will give you our blessing and hold you in prayer, and ask you to pray for us.

One word… these days are going to be challenging. They are also going to be exciting.

You see, God is calling us to REbirth!

To God’s glory. Amen.