Tom, to the church in Sudbury, seeking God’s Kingdom on Earth by following in the footsteps of Christ,

May grace and peace be yours.

I always thank God for all of you in my prayers.

Six years ago I was presented with many opportunities to serve a variety of church communities as I searched for my first job as pastor.   I believed then, and still believe today, that God led me to Sudbury.  From the first time I read MCC’s profile, I felt a pull towards this congregation and felt called to serve God together with you.

For six years we have worked side by side, continually exploring our faith.  We’ve gathered in large groups and small to discuss our ideas about God and Jesus.  We’ve sought to discover what it means to be a Christian.  We’ve worshipped, worked and celebrated together.  I have seen God working in your midst.

We’ve come together as Preacher and Congregation but also as Pastor and Parishioner: individuals in relationship with each other.  I thank you for the times that you invite me into your homes and into your lives; sharing with me the highs and lows that come with life.  Whether its welcoming a new baby into our world or being with loved ones as they depart, it is always a privilege and a blessing to walk with you for life-changing moments.

My heart has been heavy as we have said farewell to many saints who lived and worshipped among us. Folks who have died but who remain a part of our congregation, whose presence will always be a part of this sanctuary.

We have said goodbye to some and have welcomed many new friends into our community, who have become important and integral to the work that we do in Christ’s name.

I often boast about you to others.  Many of my colleagues and classmates have served more than one church in the past six years.  In contrast, I still believe that we have work to do together.   This congregation has come through conflict and challenges by growing as a community.  You have done hard work to heal and you have looked to the future, wondering what might be possible for our church.  Where is God calling us next?

As we head towards the summer and the “end” of the church year, I hope that you can see the results of your hard work these past months.  You have taken the time to join in conversations about what MCC does well, you’ve engaged in talks about growing our ministry, and you have explored new ways to look at our finances.  Thank you for the ways that you have been so instrumental in heling us find God’s calling for our church.

I always thank God for all of you in my prayers.   Friends, I ask that you pray for me as I continue being your pastor.

Here is my charge to you: take the time today to tell someone that you appreciate them.  It can be a 500 word letter that you write when you go home or a warm handshake during coffee hour.

Find your oldest friend and tell them your favorite thing about them.  Is there someone you have seen in church every Sunday but never taken the time to say “hi?”  Reach out to someone that you’ve only seen from afar and introduce yourself.  Say thank you to a church committee member who has been working hard behind the scenes.

Paul had to send letters as a necessity – it was the only way he could communicate to his communities.  It may seem like a luxury or a nuisance for us today but the few moments we spent telling an old friend or a new acquaintance that we love them may make all the difference in the world.

I always thank God for all of you in my prayers.   May the peace of God be with us in all that we do.  May the grace of our Lord Jesus, God’s anointed, be with you all.

A Letter to the Congregation (in the style of Paul)

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