Friday, July 08, 2005

The Nugget, July 05

We, your children, in your likeness,
Share inventive powers with you;
Great Creator, still creating,
Show us what we yet may do.
- Catherine Cameron
Scenes from my first two months with you:
  • getting warm with other adults and youth around a wonderful Karl-Graves-built campfire at Camp Tamarack early in the morning on the first full day of summer, a day of work that is starting out at about 38 degrees;
  • meeting with our other staff in the Church office, planning worship, calendarizing events, discussing common concerns, and marveling at the diversity of our leadership team;
  • singing “Spirit of the Living God” at Helen Ormsby’s home, at the end of our Monday morning prayer session, during which we have asked God, “in your mercy” to hear our prayers for friends and family;
  • tearing my hair out because my new computer at the last minute has decided not to cooperate; therefore the PowerPoint presentation of Asilomar will not be shown at worship on this particular morning, despite the best efforts of Jim Lashbrook and me;
  • playing ultimate Frisbee with our youth in the forest behind our home, while the other adults and I anxiously hope no one (especially me!) encounters a tree head-on;
  • sitting at a Mark Twain Hospital bedside, praying with a patient who is in remarkably good spirits and hopes to go home the next day;
  • winding my way down Hwy 4 toward Stockton for a clergy meeting, marveling at the distances we Calaveras County residents are willing to travel, distances that many city folks seem not to understand;
  • standing in the pulpit during worship, preaching what feels like a 360 degree sermon, thinking, “Do I look as weird as I feel, trying to address people way over on the left as well as those who are way over on the right?”
  • being amazed as I observe day after day after day, all the activity at the Eastman Education Center under Ed Williams’ fine leadership, and wondering, “What is it about this project that commands so much attention?”
These are only a few of the many scenes that capture the spirit of my time with you to this point. Here we are in July already, into my third month as your Interim Minister. In the midst of all that is happening, I am very pleased to observe that we appear to be moving quite well though the early months of this transition time.

When John left a number of you felt the anxiety that naturally comes with the departure of a beloved minister. And you may have wondered whether the church would be able to do without him, which is a natural reaction. We make a great investment of ourselves in relationships with our pastors, especially those who do good work and are easy to love.

My prayer is that this Interim time will be an opportunity to come to terms with where we have been, and then to make that shift, with the help of God, toward a view to the future. I have all the confidence in the world that our Church has a bright future. Sure there are things that might threaten that future – but when is that ever NOT the case? Let our prayer be the words of that song we sometimes sing, “Great Creator, still creating, show us what we yet may do.”

Steve Shepard
Interim Pastor