Hosting the Bishop of the Annual Conference is not something that happens every week in local church life, which means that it really was a big deal for us to be able to welcome Bishop Tom Berlin and his wife, Karen, among us at Memorial last Sunday morning. What a wonderful blessing it was to have the opportunity to meet Bishop Tom up close and hear a little bit of his heart as he preached an outstanding sermon (If you have not watched/listened to it yet, you can catch up on the whole service here, or watch the Bishop’s sermon only here.)
Bishop Berlin’s visit closed out an extremely eventful month of August that also included big things such as Back to School Sunday, and the arrival of our new Associate Pastor, Rachel Williams.
Also, on personal level August 2023 also included some planned upheaval in that Margaret and I moved Eva into UNF, as well as some very saddening, unplanned travel to Northern Ireland to be with my lovely Mum as she journeyed through her final days.
Honestly, it has all been a little exhausting. That said, through it all I have found my faith in Christ Jesus to be utterly sustaining. Throughout August I have kept repeating to myself that same verse from Lamentations I shared with you all a couple of weeks back:
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Friends, my personal testimony these last number of weeks can be summed up in three simple words: God is faithful. I am not the only one with a lot going on – we all have situations/events in our lives that cause distress, exhaustion, and anxiety. Whatever that is for you, I want to remind you that you are not alone in it. God is with you and God’s steadfast love and faithfulness will sustain you this day and every day.
There’s one more thing I wanted to share with you today. Before things turned so quickly for Mum, Margaret and I had planned a vacation to Northern Ireland in September to visit our families, spend time with our mothers, and to attend the wedding of a close family friend. We are going to keep those plans and will be traveling this weekend after worship, and returning in time for worship on Sunday, September 17th. While I am gone, Pastors Alyce and Rachel, and our wonderful church staff team will be looking after things pastorally, administratively, and in Sunday morning worship services.