January Newsletter

Pastor's Note: More Than The Stars in the Sky

It’s Christmas Eve 2020. Feeling a bit fatigued by a week of planning and coordinating a busy church calendar. The fire from the Christ candle is slowly spreading throughout the sanctuary, like Pentecost morning.

Suddenly, the lights go out. Each burning candle transforms into a twinkling star and a wave of peace covers my soul. What a great summary of our brief journey together. Spirit filled people twinkling all ‘round, creating beauty in the darkness.

Who knew 2020 would become such a dark year! Yet, somehow God had prepared us for it. Practically overnight, we began live streaming worship. Our leaders rose to the task of staying connected in a year of social distancing. With remarkable unity of spirit, we served with the heart of Jesus. In a conversation with a family in the thick of a serious illness I asked how they were doing. I then listened with joy to stories of connection and caring. She ended by saying, “Pastor, I’m feeling it.” The ‘it’ she spoke of is the deep feeling of belonging to God’s people through Bethany, the presence of twinkling stars in her dark night.

Your new pastor will soon be here, Reverend Brian Janssen. I am thrilled for the discoveries in store for him- twinkling stars, all ‘round. I am so proud of our elders and deacons, and their thoughtful, smart spirits of faithfulness. Brian will soon become a guardian and shepherd of your heritage of spiritual maturity. And you will rejoice in his unique giftedness and preparation to enter this fellowship and lead you on in God’s call to be a vibrant congregation. God is adding another star to light your sky.

In the midst of it all, I want to whisper my goodbye and God’s speed. What a privilege it has been to minister to and with you. Knowing you has already become a bright spot in my sky! So many fond memories will go with me. Daily jovial conversations with our dear volunteer receptionists and  amazing staff. Shared ministry and collaboration with Pastor Jae. The memorial stops at the ninth hole with the guys, to toast the great men who have blessed Bethany Church in the past. The many interesting and engaging people who make up our membership. The teamwork of figuring out 2020 on the fly. All the “yesses” for trying new things. I say my goodbye knowing you are ready and equipped for God’s next steps for Bethany Presbyterian Church.

My last day among you is January 15th. God has been kind to lead me to serve another church beginning on February 1st. Pastor Jae is well on his way to his next place of ministry. Pastor Brian is arriving on January 13th. I borrow from the Apostle for my final words: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”