Dear St. Matthew’s Family,

It’s been six months. Time is a sneaky thing, isn’t it? Always telling us it is dependable and never changing. Sixty seconds always give us a minute, and seven days always give us a week, but the steady perception of time often eludes me. Some minutes feel like hours, and weeks feel like days…maybe you can relate? But no matter the perception, I have been here as your Interim Pastor just over six months, and that time just continues to move more swiftly!

Some of us have gotten to know each other pretty well, and I look forward to meeting more of you as opportunity allows! As we move back into what we hope is a steady diet of in-person worship, it is my hope that we can accomplish those meetings and greetings. And not just with me but with each other. This seems to be the piece so many of us are missing—an opportunity to connect with other bright faces, to be in the presence of others. I invite you to consider being in the presence of others especially on Sunday mornings as you feel comfortable. If coming in person is not yet comfortable for you, or if life has given your Sunday mornings a different shape these days, have no fear: our online worship will be continuing!

During these six months, I’ve seen a great deal of commitment to worship and service at St. Matthew’s. Our social ministries reach out to our neighbors near and far. The never-ending signups for meals at the Bill Mehr shelter, a litany of stockings and wrapped gifts, generous excitement around the needs of Afghan Allies, all jump out as points of pride and strength.

There is a solid commitment to Adult Education, Choir, Thursday morning Bible studies, and committee work as well. And amidst some of our positive activity and self-perception, there seem to be rising questions about where we are headed and what comes next. This is a good thing, we should be asking these questions. I sense people are excited about the prospect of meeting and calling a new pastor for the next season of St. Matthew’s, and I sense there are questions. I also sense there are many mixed feelings about what has been and what will be. I want to encourage you to be in conversation with each other and with the transition committee during these months of survey and discussion. This is the time and the place to think about what you hope to see and experience in your church community AND how you will be a participant in making that vision real and meaningful.

As important as it is to find and call a pastor you as a community feel good about, it is equally, if not more, important to be the community you feel good about. Both affect each other. I can tell you that the increasing support and trust that you as a community have extended to me, help make me a better pastor. We pastors are not Jesus stand-ins; we are simply another of his many disciples. A disciple with a particular role to play for sure, but still just another disciple along the way. In healthy congregations and environments, we all grow together, recognizing when the other needs support, appreciation, laughter, and time to think and pray.

Let us all continue to live into our call as disciples of Jesus, learning, loving, and growing toward a life defined by the hope, grace, and mercy of God.

Pastor Kirsten