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Pastor Cheryl Matthews Report

Dear Friends in Christ:

As I write my final letter to you, I am remembering these words from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (The Voice):

For everything that happens in life-there is a season,
a right time for everything under heaven: A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, a time to collect the harvest;
A time to kill, a time to heal; a time to tear down, a time to build up;
A time to cry, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance;
A time to scatter stones, a time to pile them up;
A time for a warm embrace, a time for keeping your distance; A time to search, a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep, a time to throw out;
A time to tear apart, a time to bind together;
A time to be quiet, a time to speak up;
A time to love, a time to hate; a time to go to war, a time to make peace.

During our ministry together, we have experienced nearly everything on the list: baptisms, weddings, funerals, Lenten suppers, Bible studies, singing, praying, preaching, fellowship, and friendship. There was some tearing down of old ideas and planting of new ideas, some disagreements and some resolutions, some remembering and some forgiving. We have shared car loads full of food with our Parking Lot Food Pantry as well as provided support for ELCA Good Gifts. 

We have laughed and cried, mourned and dance~d found our way through the many and challenging changes that the pandemic demanded. We have said goodbye to beloved members who have moved or went onto the church triumphant and we have welcomed new people as well.

Through it all, we have bonded and grown in wonderful ways while experiencing a great deal of mercy, grace, joy and love! God has blessed us in more ways than we can count. Our Lord Jesus has certainly been with us and has shown us that what we think is impossible, God makes possible.

I have always believed that a pastor is called to a particular place, for a particular time, with a particular purpose to a particular group of people in a particular community. We may have not accomplished everything that I had hoped for; yet still much was accomplished.

When Jesus prepared to leave his disciples, he found three promises to share:

•    First, Jesus promised to make a home in his disciples' hearts. (John 14:23),

•    Second, Jesus promised to fill the disciples with a spirit of courage and comfort. "The             Holy Spirit. .. will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you".             (John 14:26).

Finally, Jesus promised to sustain his disciples with a special kind of peace. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you" (John 14:27).

So as Mary Lindberg says (from The Graceful Exit),"So we'll open the gifts Jesus gave us a home in him, the courage to move on, the peace that will get us through many unknowns. And we'll trust that God is staying with those we love for many more seasons."

Thank you for the patience, kindness, mercy, grace and love that you have shown me! You are a great group of people and I pray for all the best in this new season that you are about to begin. May you continue to grow in faith, hope and love, worshiping God with your whole heart, mind, body and soul. Remember, do everything for the glory of God!

I thank God for you,

Pastor Cheryl Matthews

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