«

»

«
»

Apr 01 2016

Thanks

“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion of the day of jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me …”
— Philippians 1:3-7

 
 

Dearest Friends,

I write to express my joy and thanksgiving for the wonderful 20th Anniversary Celebration on February 21st. My heart was so full! It was a remarkable celebration of twenty years of covenant partnership in ministry together and all the wonders of God that have been revealed on the way. It was a festival of great, great love.

These last two decades have indeed been remarkable for me. While I came to Perkasie with great anticipation in 1996, I could never have foreseen all that would develop, the shapes our ministry of Jesus Christ would take, the ways that I myself would be nourished, challenged, and loved as a pastor and child of God.

The proclamation of the gospel has always been my passion, in preaching and teaching, pastoral care and (hopefully!) living word. I have had abundant opportunity for such ministry here. To share life with you and be entrusted with the holiness of your daily lives and the stories of your faith journeys is a privilege beyond compare. In a recent sermon I quoted Megan McKenna, who defines a blessing as “an expression of life that at its fullest is a startling reminder of eternity.” I give thanks to God for the manifold blessings I have received and the many foretastes of eternity. I pray that all my colleagues in ministry will have even a measure of this kind of abundance.

Twenty years offers astounding perspective. Children that I have baptized are in college; kids in elementary school when I came have families of their own; folks who have become a part of us along the way have evangelized us and become vital leaders; cherished people whom we have commended to God with thanksgiving live on in ways that still impact the life of our congregation, their lives interwoven with ours. Ministries have been inspired and encouraged, flourishing in our poured-out discipleship and willingness to venture vulnerably where God’s Spirit has led us.

Among my greatest joys are when people are able to recognize and claim their God-given gifts, realizing deep their deepest vocations. Our four preachers on the 21st are moving examples; we have many others in our midst.

As this February anniversary approached, I pulled out the Parish Register several times. Inscribed are the names of all those whom I have baptized, whose weddings I have officiated at, and at whose memorial services I have presided. To look over the names is to remember not only the events but the substance of each person. Teaching our children about “the communion of saints” at St. Andrew’s is a rich endeavor! As I have said many times: when we gather around the baptismal font, “We are all here!”

Also registered in our archives are the names of people and families that I have ministered to beyond our immediate membership; this is the outreached hand of our congregation. Among the names is that of a Vietnam veteran whose funeralattended by many of his grieving fellow veteranshelped stoke my deep commitment to the Touchstone ministry we are immersed in.

I received a number of meaningful gifts and expressions at our celebration. They moved me to consider, among other things, the grace in mincemeat, duct tape, and country music (whew!). I also received a stole displaying the words of Fyodor Dostoyevsky: “The soul is healed … by being with children.” As I sat with little children, growing children, and young adults during our Children’s Sermon, I delighted in all of the children I have sat with on the chancel steps over the years, and felt a great peace. A number of former confirmands were among those touching my heart. I was reminded that when Rev. Donald Boutte of St. John Baptist Church in New Orleans visited us in the Fall of 2009, he sat in on that year’s Confirmation Class – a vibrant, inquisitive, profoundly alive group of twelve. As we cracked open gospel story and testified to the power of God at work among us, Rev. Boutte was deeply impressed by the spirited nature of our young ones – their faith and wisdom and self-giving. Particularly, Don marveled at the access the young people expressed in relating to me, and vice-versa. How does that happen?, he wanted to know. I shared with him that the relationships between children and pastor begin very early and grow throughout the years at our church it is our way. The growing children are among my most valued teachers.

Well, I could continue through several more pages! Many thanks to everyone who made our glorious celebration possible, including the Anniversary Team, Culinary Team, the Property Team (check out our wonderful new “Welcome Room”), Artists and Laborers, Choir, Guitar Group, Academy of Preachers, Youth and Young Adults, my incomparable Pastoral Assistant, children, educators, card-makers, lovers of God’s People, faithful and humble servants of all shapes and sizes (each with a big, big heart). Every one of you has helped make this, and the last two decades of ministry here possible.

I thank God with my every breath for the family with whom I have and have had a home: for Debra, my life partner, with whom the mystery of love continues to unfold; for Corinne, who moved here with her dad at age 5 and has loved the community where she grew up; for Alex and Kara, who have gifted my life in special ways that I could never have planned. I am also so grateful for Mom and Dad being here and for their belonging in our faith community.

I hope you are all able to recognize how special this community of faith is. I surely do and I thank God for our common calling, and for each of you, every day, exulting in the grace of God that we share.

 

Pastor Scott's Signature

 

P.S. Please take time to visit The Welcome Room and to enjoy the exquisite photo album of our celebration that Cindy Grace put together!

Pastor Scott’s Archived Messages