Gratitude matters. I can’t type another word without proclaiming how deeply thankful I am for all of you at Bethel. You stepped into the unknown by risking an invitation to a stranger. To take me on as an employee is one thing. To received me as Pastor is another. To include me as your friend, that is the way of Jesus. (Jn.15:15) You opened your heart and hands to care for Miriam and me. The welcome you gave us has been consistently encouraging. Your example of consistency and persistence through the waves of difficult waters is heartening for any congregation. I’ve been struck by your faithfulness. Your ability to continue is not a reflection of individual strength or stubbornness - but a desire to turn towards the resources of God. I am grateful for the leadership of Bethel. If it is not clear to you - then allow me to proclaim it loudly. We are enriched by the leadership at Bethel. Pastors, staff, volunteers, Boards, committees and those who serve behind curtains - every one is a gift of God. I have spent most of my time this past year with leadership. We’ve spent hours together in many meetings - trying to discern what is and what could be from God. Hearts have always been open. Grace has always been exercised. Challenges were faced with faith. I am convinced that the grace of God has been ushered to Bethel largely through the sacrificial and effectual offering of those who lead us here.
I am dizzy with the speed by which 12 months pass. We just barely said “Hello.” But, there are metrics other than time to measure what matters. The qualitative outweighs the quantitative. I praise God for the quality investment you’ve made to the depths of my being. You spoke kindness into my life and it is echoed as gratitude from my soul. Thank you.
“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful makes compete sense in any immediate context of history, therefore we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore we are saved by love.” Reinhold Niebuhr