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FROM PASTOR KAREN:

I’ve found an interesting pattern through the years concerning my study of God’s Word. I’ll be reading through some part of Scripture, for my personal devotions or to prepare for a sermon. As I begin, I wonder if there’s anything new to learn. Then, when I take a closer look, and when I allow God to be involved with me in the study, it turns out that there is so much more to see than I originally thought. Gold waiting to be refined. Lessons there for the taking. Interesting contemplation on new subjects.

We see from a unique perspective at each stage in our life. And the Bible can speak to us in every stage and in all of our viewpoints. That’s why there’s always something there for us in reading and studying the Bible, even if we come to the Word thinking we’ve read it all. At some points in life we are more (or less) teachable. At times we listen closely to hear words about love, or comfort, or challenge, or leadership…whatever we need at that moment.

God actually does speak to us. And our hearts hunger for that word from God. We hear His voice in the words of the Bible, in the process of prayer and listening, and as we fellowship with Christians. Isn’t that exciting, to know there is a word from God for each of us? I have come to love those moments in my studies when I find that God is there, waiting in the text for me to notice.

I hope you are joining us on our 90-day journey through the New Testament. If you have, you are noticing God, right? If you have not, perhaps it would be a great Lenten practice to jump into the schedule and read from now to Easter.

Coming at this from a different angle, do you have any favorite authors or favorite books? I have read Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach a dozen times. The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence (a monk in the 17th century) gets a good reread every few years. Both short books that point out ideas that encourage me onward. So if Jesus is one of our favorite people, wouldn’t it be good to read and reread the book about him, and the early church? It has the possibility to encourage, push us forward in our faith, and put us in the presence of the Almighty

Be encouraged this lent,
Draw closer to Jesus,
Savor his love for you

Pastor Karen Johnson, Interim Pastor

FROM KEN AND DARBY …

7/9/2022

Dear church family,
As you know, I was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) in February of 2020. Since then, it has been my blessing and privilege to continue serving as your Pastor despite my increasing physical difficulties and the weakness and fatigue that come with this disease.

However, after much consideration and in consultation with my doctor, Darby and I believe it is time for me to step away from working and take care of my health, so I will be taking a Medical Leave of Absence beginning Monday, July 25, 2022. We anticipate that the leave of absence will run for three months, during which time we will be working on getting the necessary approvals for long-term disability.

We have already discussed this with the church leadership, and the Search Committee is exploring options for bringing in an interim pastor. I know you will be in good hands and that God will lead all of us in these decisions.

Going forward, Darby and I hope to continue worshipping with you on a regular basis, and Darby to continue working part-time for the church, at least as long as these arrangements seem appropriate to our needs and those of the church.

Please know that I am deeply grateful for your prayers, your love, your gifts, and the many ways members of this congregation have helped us. You have shown us extraordinary grace through this difficult period, and we thank you all.

God bless you!
Pastor Ken