Greetings new friends and neighbors in the community of St. Augustine Presbytery!
What a whirlwind!! I hope to be able to breathe soon, but I think most of my hair is on fire right about now. I have met with about 3000 pastors and ruling elders and been in 150 meetings already, setting up my second home at Montgomery Presbyterian Conference Center. I have seen PJ and Michelle Brobston more than I have seen my own wife. And I have not visited my mother yet (who also lives in Jax). Yes, I am in the doghouse.
And I am having a fabulous time!!
Okay, maybe it just seems to have been that hectic, but let me tell you what a great experience my first two weeks in St. Augustine have been.
Cindy and I worshipped at Woodlawn on our first Sunday in town and celebrated the Lord’s Supper with 500 of our newest, closest friends. I have never experienced the warmth and love of Jesus Christ more fully than on that morning, and dearly love all of my new churchmates there already. They are a hugging bunch and worship was wonderful. God was glorified that day.
Cindy and I worshipped at Palms this past Sunday and experienced the sacrament of baptism with the congregation there. I think, however, the baby might be Baptist because he was determined to get into that baptismal font and I’m not completely sure how Laurie Furr-Vancini kept him from just diving right in. Her arms have to be sore still.
Cindy and I ran from lunch with the Walkers on Sunday to the service of ordination and installation for the newly minted Rev. Mark Hults at the First Church in Green Cove Springs. Mark has been a classmate of our daughter at Columbia Seminary and is a delightful addition to the St. Augustine family.
In eight days time we experienced communion, baptism, ordination and installation. We worshipped in wonderful Reformed fashion in all of those places and were swept up in marvelous music and praise of our God. God is good, all the time.
And then there were the weekdays. We have examined a transferring minister, met with two congregations exploring shared ministry, begun to build the bonds of relationship within your new staff, and elected and trained new Crisis Response Team members. I have been to Tampa to meet with my EP colleagues from around the state of Florida and will be with the other EPs from the Synod of South Atlantic the first week of February as I renew old acquaintances. I have met with COM, Council, Nominations, Administration and Finance, Examinations, the Worship & Planning team and the Personnel Committee.
And life is good.
I am happy to report that the church of Jesus Christ is alive and well in this place, working for the glory of God and seeking the will of God for our future. In covenant with each other and with God, we will discern where God has us going next. I am looking forward to the journey with you all.
Peace and grace,