With Bishop Finegan’s appointment of Michael Holman as Licensed Lay Minister for Bethany and Emanuel my time as administrative interim comes to an end. While it has added to my work load, I have also enjoyed getting to know both congregations. At Emanuel’s annual meeting I said that they were small but healthy and I would say the same thing about Bethany. With solid leadership in both places and the faithful proclamation of Pastor Chrys and Virginia, my impression is that things have stayed remarkably steady over the past year and a half. Often during pastoral vacancies there is what I would call “slippage” as people get discouraged. Maybe because you have been down this road before, that hasn’t happened. There continue to be good things happening in both churches! You are to be commended for your faithfulness!
I think that the appointment of a Licensed Lay Minister is a good development at this time. It will provide you with a leader dedicated to the two congregations which should help with all aspects of your ministry. Having known Michael for a couple of years, I think you will enjoy his presence among you and that he will enjoy serving you.
You are very well acquainted with the challenges that smaller congregations face these days. Despite the challenges I hope that there will always be a place for congregations like yours because I think it can be there that we get a better sense of what it is be the church as a Christ centered group of people who know one another, care about one another and witness to their faith in service to the wider community. As I said, small but healthy!
It’s a small world when it comes to the Lutheran church (especially in the UP!). I look forward to the times our paths will cross again!