Pastor's E-Letter

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Pastor's E-Letter 06/19/20

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Dear Church Family,

 Last Saturday, I attended a small, outdoor wedding for a very dear friend, a covenant sister of over 25 years. Have no fear. We were appropriately socially distanced. But as all my covenant sisters agreed, nothing was going to keep us from celebrating this incredibly joyous occasion. One of my covenant sisters officiated the ceremony where she read from Isaiah 43, “But now, thus says the Lord, he who created you…he who formed you…Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” And then later in the chapter, “Do not remember the former things or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it.” And we all wept with joy at the power of God to redeem, to transform pain into strength, sadness into joy, heartbreak into a new, abundant, joyful life. That is exactly what God had done and is doing in the lives of the two who were joined in a loving marriage that day. God was and is transforming grief into joy, heartache into life. 

 Of course, we also heard and experienced those words and the gift of that moment, against the backdrop of the ongoing pain and struggle that we are experiencing in our world. I marveled at the ways that God shows up, the ways that God works even in the most difficult of seasons, to bring joy, hope, life. It was a beautiful reminder to continue to look for what God is doing for our good in every situation. So much of life is a beautiful mixture of joy and hope amid pain and sadness. And in all of it, God is working.

 I also pondered this on Sunday afternoon as we said goodbye to the Allen family. What a gift they have been to Suntree UMC. What a joy it has been to watch Augie and Mary lean into God’s call and do everything they could to prepare to take this next step. I can’t deny that my heart was filled with joy and anticipation for all that God is doing in their lives while, at the same time, being sad over having to say farewell. We will miss them greatly. 

 Also, this week the staff said farewell to Pearl Laravea, our Director of Communications. Pearl is leaving our staff to pursue work that is solely focused on her passion, graphic design. Fortunately, she will still be around as she is not moving. But again, we will greatly miss Pearl’s presence on our staff team. She is such an amazing light of love and joy. Who else will walk down our halls and sing our names to us? 

 But we know that God will work for our good in these transitions. Nothing is outside of God’s care. So, we trust that as God blesses these folks in their new ventures, God will also bless the ministry of Suntree with new folks to carry God’s vision forward. 

 So, we are continuing the search for a Director of Outreach Ministry, which has already been posted. In the future, this position will be under the supervision of our associate pastor, Allee Willcox. In the meantime, Allee will be overseeing our Outreach Ministry along with several faithful servants who are working to ensure this ministry continues to move forward. 

 We are also currently re-imagining our communications position description to be sure that it reflects our current needs in the ever-changing world of communications. We will post that position opening soon. In the meantime, we are grateful to Morgan Wood, a member of Suntree UMC, and a teacher on summer break, who will be serving in this area on a part-time, interim basis over the summer. This gives us the time and space to hire the right person for the new position. 

 Transitions are hard for sure. But God uses transitions to move us on toward the new things that God has in store as we are open and welcoming of those changes. In all that faces us as a world, it is easy to lose sight of the ways that God is working. I pray we will trust and stay focused on God’s promise of new things, of ways in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. I pray we will look for and celebrate the joy of God’s redemption in Christ that is all around us, every day, always.  

Grace and Peace,

Annette Pendergrass