Beloved St. John’s community,

As you read this, I will be at the tail end of a sabbath time with my family in the north woods. I am writing this before I leave, so this is anticipatory: imagining where St. John’s will be in ten days or so. Ten days isn’t normally a lot of time, but during times of uncertainty like this, much can change.

A change you will have become aware of during my time away is news that is both poignant and joyful. Amy McGrew, our Interim Minister for Children, Youth & Family who specializes in transitional ministry, will be departing for her next call, and August 30 will be her last Sunday with us. We have greatly appreciated her gifts, poise, experience, joy and non-anxious presence with our children & youth over the past nine months. She has created an administrative infrastructure for the children & youth programs that had been missing, has communicated beautifully, has held space with us, and has used gifts of both leadership and spiritual listening to midwife the possibility of a new beginning for St. John’s in Children, Youth & Family Ministry. I can’t thank her enough, warmly bless her, and will miss her insight and competence. She departs with our blessing and poignant affection.

And, we are welcoming Heather Miller as our new Minister for Children, Youth & Families. Heather’s first day will be Monday August 31, and her first Sunday with us is Sept. 6. This is cause for thunderous joy for us. You have hopefully already seen the email welcoming her and providing information about her background (read here). We are so excited to welcome her—she comes with experience, tremendous gifts, a passionate commitment to Jesus’ Way of Love, and energy.  I hope that you will join the entire St. John’s community on Sunday September 13 for a zoom service in which we provide a creative and warm welcome to Heather!

The world is in transition. We cannot yet meet in our beloved building, we do not know how this pandemic will impact our community long term, we are still dealing with having been awakened to our profound need for racial justice and healing, we know how important it is to care for the earth, and our nation’s political strife is as deep as it has been in a long time. And yet: God’s Spirit is as powerfully present to us now as ever. God’s Spirit is always working to make everything whole, to make everything new, to heal that which is sick and broken and to bring joy and new life. This is our faith, and this is what we can trust. So in the midst of all the uncertainty, it is only fitting that we affirm our commitment to the future through hiring Heather and renewing our focus on Children, Youth & Family Ministry.

I pray that you will experience moments of rest, joy, and blessing even as your daily life and relationships and concerns swirl around you. I pray that you will rest in the presence of God and trust that literally nothing is greater than the love of God. Please join me taking a moment to celebrate, to offer your thanks to Amy and your welcome to Heather.

Faithfully,
Lisa