Every transition begins with an ending and ends with a beginning. Sharon Church is in the middle of a transition, one that began with Roger Howard leaving after 19 years as pastor, and will end when a new pastor is installed. We are currently in the in-between time, the interim time, a time of change and transition. My job as Interim Pastor is to help this congregation through the transition, for changes are always difficult. (As an Interim I’m not allowed to become the next called pastor. The gifts needed for the called pastor are different from the gifts of the Interim.) However, these changes also provide a great opportunity for growth.
During the Interim time there are five developmental tasks. If they are done well they will help the church grow through the transition and move into a positive future. Over the coming months I’d like to share with you ideas about these developmental tasks. Hopefully this will help Sharon Church see where it is going and what it needs to think about and work on.
First Task: Coming to Terms with Our History:
In the middle of the Fourth Commandment, “Observe the Sabbath day” we are commanded to “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm” (Deut. 5:12, 15, NIV). Remembering what God has done is an important aspect of spiritual growth.
SCPC has a unique and wonderful history. Next year we are celebrating 200 years of ministry! (Be watching for information about various bicentennial events) Andrew McDonald was the first pastor and the church was called Flaugherty Run Mission. In 1828 the church erected its first building, just below our current cemetery. S.C. Jennings was the pastor from 1829 – 1879; 50 years! During that time he baptized 769 infants, performed 321 weddings and preached at least 5200 sermons! I’m tired thinking about that. The church has had a variety of other pastors and several other buildings, including “the old White Church.” (for more details, see the brochure “A History of Sharon Community Presbyterian Church).
Another part of the history includes the stories that are part of the church. Since we had more than 100 members that have been part of this church for more than 30 years, and several who have been members for 50+ years, I’m sure there are lots of stories. What are your favorite stories about Sharon? Your least favorite? These stories not only help us understand what happened, but what the meaning is of what happened. What are some other stories that are part of SCPC’s history? What do these stories mean – for who SCPC is, for what God has done in and through SCPC, for what God has done in your own lives through SCPC, and for what God is calling us to do and be in the coming years.
Next month we will look at three different aspects of Sharon’s history. For now, I’d love to hear some of the stories that are part of your life and the life of Sharon Church. If you have one you’d like to share give me a call so we can find a time to get together, or send me an email with your stories. (firstname.lastname@example.org). May God fill all of us with grace and peace as we continue through this interim time.
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