March 6, 2016

Pastor Letter

Lent is a journey into unknown territory. It includes departures and arrivals, fears and dreams, uncertainties and affirmations. Journeys are transitions from one place to another, and transitions are filled with possibility, promise and dare we say it “change.”

With my retirement and the ensuing pastoral change taking place July 1, I would say our faith community is on a journey. On our path, there are some knowns: the new Pastor has been named, we are still called by God to attend to the mission of making world-transforming disciples, members are still engaged in loving each other and our neighbors, and we have a gifted staff equipping us for mission. There are some unknown’s as well that can be unsettling: What graces will our new pastor bring? What gifts will continue to emerge within our community? What surprising blessings and challenges will God introduce into our life together?

In the midst of transitions, we often want to fill in the gaps instead of waiting on God’s timing. So I want to name some of my hopes for the Los Altos UMC community in this season.

I am confident that:

  • We will continue to pursue our mission together and offer our hearts. We will conduct ministries of service and care with compassion, and hospitality will be extended to one another and to the guests who come among us.
  • Together we can lay a foundation for a healthy pastoral transition: participating in opportunities for nurturing ourselves, our children and our community as disciples, fulfilling our capital improvements’ vision to host ministry, realizing the promise of our stewardship potential.
  • We will prepare to welcome a new pastor into our journey of faith, and in the mean time, respect Rev. Sturgess ministry at Riviera UMC by prayerfully waiting, resisting the temptation to step into his present congregations farewell and grieving process. (i.e. Before July 1, “checking out” the new pastor or extending invitations, are premature.)
  • We will offer to God the tiller to guide our course and refrain from trying to control the future.

I welcome the season ahead for the opportunity we have to celebrate our companions along the way, to reinforce the vision that guides us, and to pause as we give God thanks for our shared adventure in faith.

Pastor Mark