A MESSAGE FROM OUR BISHOP
This is an exciting time in your life as a congregation. Granted, a stressful time and, depending on the circumstances of your former pastor’s departure, perhaps a time of grieving. But whatever the circumstances that have brought you to this place in your life as the people of God, there are two points of view I hope you will keep in mind as you read through the Guide for Pastoral Transition
- If God brings you to it, God will see you through it. This simple affirmation is one that has sustained me through the many changes I have experienced in life and ministry. As you prepare to move into the next stage of your journey of faith, it is important to reflect on what this congregation has been through and the challenges you have met in order to be here today. It is certainly our central and solid belief as Christians that whatever we face, we do not face it alone. Jesus reminds us, “I will not leave you orphaned. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you.” (John 14) This gracious promise of Jesus reminds us that the process that you undertake must be filled with prayer and mutual discernment, keeping your focus on Jesus’ Spirit, who will guide you through this.
- As scary as change can be, it is also a time overflowing with exciting possibilities for the future of your discipleship. Discerning a call to your next spiritual leader is one of the most important and meaningful opportunities to come your way. It holds within it a rediscovery of your blessings, gifts and strengths in the areas of your communal life, where you can be stretched and learn new ways of being “little Christs” (to use Luther’s image) in the world.
Not only will you not be left orphaned by Jesus, you will also not be left to find your way without guidance from me and the wonderful people who work with me in the Office of the Bishop. You are the reason we exist and serve. Your process of discernment in this time goes beyond your own congregation, to your deployed Assistant to the Bishop and all the staff who work to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” (Ephesians) As you have questions, concerns, confusions and, yes, celebrations and victories, we are here to respond to and share those with you, to walk the road together.
A wise woman of faith (Pastor Kathleen Koran) once said, “God gives us enough light for the next step.”
More importantly, God’s Holy Spirit is your guide. And that Spirit is equipping you for ministry in courageous, new, and life-giving ways.
Let’s take that next step. . . TOGETHER!
Yours in Christ,
The Rev. Paul Egensteiner