Friday, May 27, 2005

The Nugget, June 05

Whoever you are,
Wherever you are on life’s journey,
You are welcome here.
(From the “God Is Still Speaking” initiative)

In these early weeks of my time as your Interim Pastor, I am coming to discover that you are a well organized congregation with committees and boards that appear to be on top of things. At this point one of my goals is to try not to get in the way! Yet at the same time I want to be supportive and encouraging of the programs and ministries we have, and offer you some feedback that a new perspective might provide.

My work schedule will be Sunday through Thursday. And even though I plan to be off Fridays and Saturdays, I understand that there will be times when things happen and needs arise on “off” days for which I will make myself available. I look forward to visiting you in your homes and have enlisted Edie Jones’ fine help in scheduling those visits. In the meantime, if you would like to get together, do not hesitate to call on me.

I want to say a big thank you for the opportunity to attend the Asilomar Annual Meeting so soon after arriving in Murphys. It was a terrific experience. The other eight people from Murphys who attended all seem to say the same thing.

The worship services were inspiring, the breakout groups were stimulating, the accommodations and the surroundings were breathtaking, the weather cooperated quite nicely, the food was pretty darn good, and the business sessions were… well okay, they were business sessions. What can you say?

Actually there was some important business that was transacted -- from our decision to create Youth Delegates to the Annual Meeting, to our decision regarding Equal Marriage Rights For All, plus a number of other decisions. One highlight of the weekend was the recognition of Faye Morrison as the outstanding woman of the year. It was a well deserved honor that made all of us Murphy folk very proud.

The weekend was an opportunity to feel good about being part of the United Church of Christ, the larger church body to which we belong. It is one thing to be our congregation with our mission and our work in our community. But there is something very significant and altogether different about being part of a covenantal fellowship much larger than ourselves. There is a measure of strength and credibility and wholeness that we could have no other way. Special thanks to Ken Compton and Charles Lindberg for filling in for me the Sunday I was away.

The first month of our time together has been a wonderful occasion to get to know one another, to feel the spirit of God moving among us, and to generate a positive sense of moving into God’s future together. It is unclear exactly what that future will look like, but we are on our way!

Steve Shepard
Interim Pastor

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