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The Pastor’s Pen

Now during those days Jesus went out to the mountain to pray; and he spent the night in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose twelve of them, whom he also named apostles.” Luke 6:12-13

If you’ve ever been on the search for the right person to do the right thing at the right time, you know how challenging the task can be. Whether you were looking for a partner, a plumber or a new pastor, the search can prove daunting. We say our prayers, do the best we can, and trust that we’ve done the right thing.

Fortunately, we’re in good company. It appears that a very long time ago, God entrusted Jesus with the work of a one-person nominating or search committee. Jesus spent the night praying, and then called all his disciples or students together, selecting twelve from among them for a particular purpose. The ones he selected turned out to be a diverse group, with varied gifts. Among them could be found a tax collector, small business owners, fishermen and an accountant, Judas, who left in a huff after less than three years on the job, leaving a wake of disaster.

Nobody has all the gifts needed for the work at hand. God wisely gave each of us a certain measure that when blended with the capacities of those around us, create something greater together than could be possible by our own efforts alone. This is both humbling and a relief. It’s humbling for those of us who imagine that the world depends on our individual striving, and it’s relieving to learn that God’s design is one of collaboration in community. It really isn’t all about us.

This is good news for all of us, but especially for our proposed Associate Pastor Candidate Dan Hollis, and for me. Pastor Dan will be newly ordained this spring, in the church where he grew up and has been supported throughout his preparation for ministry. He is the youngest person at age 27 we considered for the position, and also the most experienced with youth, given his number of years and role on summer staff at UCC camps.

While Dan and I share a deep faith and commitment to church life and leadership, Pastor Dan has gifts and interests that I do not. He plays video games in his free time and reads science fiction. He loves Reuben sandwiches and a good hamburger and as a young, single adult, will not be arriving with a lifetime of collected knick- knacks or inherited dishes from his Aunt Lou.

He’s funnier than I am, and a little nerdy, though don’t tell him I said so. Dan, as he prefers to be called, is both capable and prepared, and also eager to learn. He won’t need us to mother him, but he will need us to trust him. We prayed for God to send the one who had the right gifts for the right place at the right time, and the search committee and I believe that the right person has been led to us. I join them in commending him to you for consideration as our Associate Pastor. He won’t be everything for everybody, nor am I. To fill those gaps and those gifts, God sent you.

Should we affirm him as our new Associate Pastor on February 5, I will be eager to collaborate with him, the rest of our staff and ministry team, and with you, to strengthen our faith and build up the church to God’s glory.

Prayer: God grant us wisdom and courage and conviction, for the tasks for which you have chosen us, for such a time as this. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland