Endings and Beginnings
As a campus pastor I lead a spring break mission/service trip each year during spring break. These trips provided students, most of whom could not afford a semester abroad, an opportunity to work alongside people of different cultures, races and socio-economic circumstances. For some these turned out to be life changing trips; one marriage, several changes in major and/or career goals occurred and at least one student felt called to become a Lutheran pastor.
Each year, at the top of the itinerary and list of things to pack I would print the following sentence: The difference between a catastrophe and an adventure is attitude. I assured students the only thing I was certain about was that the trip would unfold in ways none of us expected. Thankfully students embraced the challenge of last minute changes and unexpected opportunities.
My year at Hope working with Vicar Corey and with you, the congregation, has been an adventure. Change is exciting—often challenging—and usually rewarding. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Vicar Corey and to accompany the people of Hope this past year. Many thanked me for my time at Hope and, of course, I am grateful, humbled and eager to thank you. Walking with you this past year has been fun, enriching and has deepened my faith.
My favorite Bible verse is Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” I am grateful that Paul did NOT write “…all things are good,” for much of what transpires in our world, and in our lives, is heartbreakingly sad and troubling. Yet the promise of the resurrection is that out of the worst that can happen God can bring something good, better than we dare hope for. In January 2021, a year ago, I suspect many of you, like me, faced the year ahead with a mixture of worry, anxiety and concern. Looking back we can see God has kept the promise as we walked in faith together.
As you welcome Bishop Andrea DeGroot-Nesdahl as your interim pastor I am certain you will embrace her as you graciously supported and trusted me as your pastor. I commend you to her, and her to you. confident God will continue to bless and guide Hope Lutheran Church into the future.
With Hope, Pastor Bob Chell