“We come together… to remind one another to rest for a moment on the forming edge of our lives, to resist the headlong tumble into the next moment, until we claim for ourselves awareness and gratitude, taking the time to look into one another’s faces and see there communion: the reflection of our own eyes.”
As I write this column, we’ve just bid a fond (and teary-eyed) farewell to our much-beloved Rev. Kathryn Bert and her husband, Stuart Campbell, as they set forth on a new adventure, returning to their beloved Pacific Northwest mountains.
What a lovely month of farewell celebrations we enjoyed together. Gratitude to all who participated in the planning, hosting, and organizing the wide range of gatherings that allowed us reminisce and honor the 15-year legacy of Kathryn’s ministry. A special thanks to Kathryn’s Committee on Ministry (Tim Goth-Owens, Deb Mosher, and Renee Swanson), not only for their overall coordination for all the celebratory logistics, but for their long-term dedicated service to Kathryn and, through that, to the congregation as a whole.
By the time you read this, I (and other congregational delegates) will have just returned from what many believe will be an historic General Assembly. (Which means you’ll want to attend our upcoming Tales from GA in the Big Easy Sunday worship service on August 20 to learn what lies ahead for the denomination as a whole as well as how it all might apply to our own corner of the denomination.)
Wasn’t it exciting to welcome 16 new members to the congregation on June 18? It felt wonderful to greet each one during the New Member Welcome ceremony, and I also noticed a quiet, deep sense of renewed intentionality and purpose from all those present—especially as we later joined hands to sing together “Answering the Call of Love.” Please join me in helping these new (and all existing) members to experience our welcoming presence as we continue our journey together. What better testament to our understanding that our church is not defined by its minister but rather by its community!
Then again, our minister does form an essential part of our interweaving together. We will soon begin a fresh phase of ministerial relationship with the arrival of our Interim Minister, Rev. John Marsh, who joins us in early August. We will give John a few weeks to begin to get to know us and how we are together before formally welcoming him during the September 10 Ingathering and Water Communion service.
We have much important work together as we unfold our future. I am honored to serve in a leadership role during this time. Please reach out to me directly with your ideas, dreams, questions, and concerns.
Mary Elaine Kiener, Congregation President