This weekend, I was blessed to be part of the installation service for Pr. Wendi Gordon and Pr. Steve Brauner, new co-pastors at Beautiful Savior in Amarillo. It was my first time preaching at an installation and particularly sweet for me since Beautiful Savior was my first congregational visit as Bishop’s Associate.
What a joy to see the difference in this congregation from last September! At that point, they’d been in the call process for months already, which was slowed down by the transition time for the synod staff. There was a sense of tiredness and doubt, as they wondered if they would ever find a pastor willing to come serve them in Amarillo. Not only did we find one, we found two — a clergy couple ready to serve them as co-pastors. This Sunday, the energy and excitement was through the roof! There was such a clear and strong connection already; it gave me such hope for the future of this congregation. My conversations with the call committee and with the members I met last September felt so much deeper after all these months of waiting together and praying together. My heart was just full.
It also warmed my heart to see so much support from the rest of the Panhandle conference. Almost all of the pastors and SAWLs were there to celebrate with the folks at Amarillo, and that is no small thing when travel time in the Panhandle conference means they rushed out from their own morning worship to get there.
This weekend just affirmed for me why I feel called and excited to serve in this call. To see a congregation in celebration, and surrounded by the support and love of their neighbors, is what this work I do is all about. We are the church in mission together. We are all connected and stronger together. We are the church.