I always enjoy greeting the New Year with a cordial welcome and a commitment to clean up a bit in order to prepare for what is to come. At home I am glad to sweep up the remnant Christmas tree needles, clear out the rest of the clutter, and get that last thank you note written. In the church I am happy to turn the calendar to a fairly clean page and begin looking forward to worship and seasonal traditions, to anticipated events and new, even unexpected things that will arise over the horizon. January ushers in a new year for all of us and an anniversary for me because exactly three years ago I moved to Bryn Mawr and began my work among this congregation as your pastor.
In these early years of ministry in this place I have been listening and learning and building a stronger sense of collaboration and community among the staff, particularly the pastoral and program staff. I have been getting to know church members and community partners in groups large and small. I have worked closely with leaders of various ministry areas so that together we can go about Christian formation and nurture in an ever changing religious landscape. I have engaged countless individuals and groups in conversations about how God is calling this congregation forward in mission and ministry. I am confident that an exciting year of bold discipleship stretches out before us because we are so richly blessed. We are blessed with a fine campus of gathering spaces for worship, education and fellowship. We have abundant resources to do amazing things as we reach out into the community and the world. And we are enjoying a season in which we are being called to dream big dreams in all our areas of ministry.
As we venture into an exciting future together from the vantage point of early January, I am ever mindful of the opening lines of the poem entitled God Knows by M.L. Haskins:
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
I begin 2016 with deep joy for this third anniversary of having been called to serve among you, and I invite all of us together to place our hands in the hand of God as we are led forward as a community of faith.