Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Cheering the Handoff

This will be my last article to the Stratmoor community as your Shepherd (the meaning of the word Pastor.)
I cannot tell you how proud I am to have been the pastor of this flock for more than eight years.  My initial conversation with key saints in 2003 told me that God wasn’t finished with Stratmoor yet, and they were open to the idea of change and new things.  Jerry Zoebisch and Bonna Campbell were two of the critical elements in the openness to different ideas being planted and nurtured.  We have been fruitful and I am proud to have been part of the nurturers of that fruitfulness.  The pronoun is “WE.” 

You should be proud of many things.  A few are:
  • Seeing the future in Easter (resurrection) terms and rejecting a theology that would call for you to be stuck at Calvary with death and loss.  Hopeful!
  • Reclaiming Sunday morning in 2007 and using the existing space to grow in new membership for the kingdom and to allow the economics to follow rather than lead.  Impressive! 
  • Thinking outside of the walls and boldly launching the food pantry on B-Street and Fox Meadow Middle School tutoring.  Jesus didn’t say “I’ll meet you at the temple” and rather He journeyed out in the wilderness to nurture those whom the temple community had forgotten.  Biblical!
  • Moving from a worshipping community composed largely of older adults with no children present to an exciting, vibrant community with an excellent blend of various ages and spiritual maturity.  Children’s time at Stratmoor, particularly at the non-traditional service is joyous and spirit-filled.  Exciting! 

Those are illustrative and not exhaustive.  At the end of John the author suggests to tell the entire story of Jesus would require far more space and time than he had available.  I, too, am so constrained.
This has been an exciting time to be at Stratmoor.  Christ the Lord is Risen Today! 
Marilyn and I leave with mixed emotions.  Excited for the new opportunities that lie ahead, prayerful that Stratmoor will continue to flourish and grow and sad that so many we love will not be in our daily lives. 

I am proud to have been your pastor this past eight plus years.  It will be a time in our story of joy, hope and affirmation.
Marilyn and I are so grateful for so many for so much, for your faithfulness, your support, and your grace.
I pray you shower Pastor David and his wife Donna with the same love you have showered on us.  God continues to do a “new thing” with Stratmoor and he most assuredly is not finished with you yet. 

God bless,

Pastor Dennis