Paul’s Message: I Wish…

As the spring season progresses, as I sit in the shadow of stunning green mountains with just a touch of winter snow left at the peaks, as I look out over a valley just waking up to a new day, as I look forward to a day of meaningful work (and a little play too), I find myself wishing.

I wish the Lakers are able to reconfigure their team and win another championship next year (I wish for the Jazz to make it to the western conference finals. ;-)

I wish Timber would stop barking at the neighbor’s dog who seems to be relishing her walk in front of our/his window.

I wish for time and weather to hop on the bike and get a good ride in today (I think this wish will come true :-) .

I wish safe and blessed travels for all who are heading this way or that (including my daughter Lydia coming home to the US after a semester in Oaxaca, Mexico. Yea! says mom and dad).

I wish for blessed arrivals for summer citizens. May your travels be filled with refreshing experiences, meaningful work, or happy reunions.

I wish for wisdom for those who have questions that are profound.

I wish for a summer of wonderful worship and meaningful ministry for First Pres (Faith doesn’t take summers off, it makes summers better)

I wish for a warm welcome for the new associate pastor the Lord has already chosen (even if we and she/he don’t know who it is quite yet!)

For those who are looking for work, those who don’t know where this month’s rent, or next month’s mortgage payment, or tonight’s dinner is going to come from, I wish they discover a path to just what they need.

I wish for healing and strength to come to those who are hurting. I know that many are struggling with brokenness in mind, body, and spirit. Many are wrestling with relationships or wallowing in loneliness (sometimes both). Some are seeking to overcome past hurts, or to deal with the demon of an addiction. I wish for you to take steps toward wholeness.

I wish for peace inside ourselves, in our homes, in our communities, in our government, in our churches, and around the world. Boy do I wish for peace.

“I wish” is, perhaps, not the right phrase. “I pray” is a lot more like it. Praying is a lot more (and a lot mo ‘betta, as they say in HI) than wishing. Wishing is more for pipe dreams. Praying is more for children of God who hope and work for wholeness to come. Praying is aligning ourselves with that divine love that desires to move the whole creation toward Sabbath peace. Praying makes things happen. Maybe it’s not as quick, or not in the way that we’d choose. Maybe those stubborn prayers seem to remain forever on our lists, especially the larger and/or deeper ones. But I believe prayer eventually brings hope, and hope (combined with love) makes things brighter and moves things forward. I not only wish, I pray … for you.

Peace, Paul

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  • Sabbatical

    Well my friends, this is my last point of contact with you for the next three months, barring unforeseen circumstances. I am taking a sabbatical this summer, granted to me by you (through a congregational meeting some time ago). Clergy sabbaticals are designed for rest, recovery, and restoration. It’s a healthy thing to do, of course, and the Presbytery of Utah recommends that congregations grant their pastors a sabbatical every seven years (serving the same church, that is). It’s hard for me to believe, but I’ve been here in Logan for eight and a half years.

    The end goal for such a time is to provide pastors with opportunity for spiritual and mental rest and restoration, to help re-energize pastors, and to prevent burnout. Pastors have a fairly high rate of burnout, but providing time for spiritual, mental, and physical self-care is one of the best ways to prevent such things.

    It’s not only about rest, however. I’ll be studying and engaging in some healthy spiritual practices too. I will be worshiping at other churches each Sunday to experience the ways that other congregations praise the Lord, so that I might observe and consider new things for the ministry life of FPC Logan. I have a small collection of books I plan to read, including Canoeing the Mountains (a book about Christian leadership in uncharted territory) and One Long River of Song (recommended by someone at FPC), and a few others that I hope will inspire good preaching and pastoral leadership when I return. These readings will go along with daily scripture study. Due to the Covid pandemic I didn’t attend any continuing education conferences last year, but I plan to use part of this sabbatical time to so some individual continuing education. There is always something more for me to learn about my role as your pastor. I look forward to sharing some of this with you upon my return to First Presbyterian Church in September.

    Summer Worship—

    A reminder to you all that during the months of June, July, and August worship will be at 9am and 10:30am. If you show up at 11 you’ll miss half of the sermon!Masks will be required until Session determines otherwise, and worship will be in Bruner Hall for both services (this allows us to space out our seating). I have carefully chosen guest preachers for you on the Sundays that Pastor Meg won’t be preaching. They range from experienced pastors to seminary graduates, but I fell they will all bring a wonderful message to you each Sunday. Please give them the warmest welcome when they help lead worship.

    We have a system in place to live stream worship to YouTube, but there are a few technical challenges with this that I’ve been trying to work out over the last month (with audio and live streaming the video). If you choose to worship from home and the live stream is not available on Sunday mornings (because of some technical difficulty), we will try to post the recording for your viewing on Monday morning when the office is open. Please extend us some grace with this. I think it will all work out, but it’s not always a simple process and complications arise.

    Praying that you all have a wonderful, Spirit-filled summer. I’ll see you soon.

    May the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you all, —Derek

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