Pastor Ponderings – January 2023

“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.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

2022 has only a couple of days left, and the new year begins. With a new year, comes all kinds of new opportunities.

First, after 13 months of prayer and discernment, First Christian has heard, and is listening to God’s voice, and asked Faith to join them in conversation to merge our two churches. Council has approved moving forward with these conversations. This is a very exciting time for everyone, while at the same time, may be somewhat scary. We have no idea what this means yet, or how things will look. There are so many questions, and no doubt there are many concerns. Will we stay UCC? Will we be DOC? Will we be both? Will we be neither? (All four of these are options!) What will we call ourselves? Who will be our pastor? And no doubt, so many, many more.

Council has given authority to the committee, which was put together when we first entertained the idea of First Christian moving into the building, to meet with First Christian’s folks starting in January. We will begin by putting some sort of plan and time line into place which will involve open conversations with each of the congregations, and with them together. If you have questions, please let me know. At this point, I can’t promise that I can answer much more than I am telling you here until we get into the process, but I am all ears! The members of the committee are Mark Christy, Amy Dowell, and Jill Pepper.

In the meantime, I invite you to start writing down your thoughts and questions, as well as your creative ideas. If you are like me, I have notes everywhere! That way, you are ready for when the time comes to address them.

Please know, dearest friends, that if this is God’s plan for our journey, it will be done with God at the center, and will be done together.

The other is that I am taking my Rest and Renewal from June 5—September 3. I will be back in the office on September 4. This is 13 weeks instead of 12, as I will be attending the UCC General Synod as an Iowa Conference Delegate June 30—July 4, so I will be working one week.

Jill Pepper will be covering for me for part of the time—June and July. August is yet to be determined. We will know for sure by the end of January. This too, could be a time that is nerve-racking. But please know, this is a time for me to rest and get some of my energy back. I am going to do a little traveling to visit family, and do some reading, a little crafting, and spend time in meditation and prayer practices each day. Ultimately, I will be doing things which bring my heart joy.

We have so much to be thankful for, and there are so many blessings coming our way! Thank you, 2022, for all you have given us. Welcome 2023!!

~ Always Peace,   Pastor Heidi