As we head into this season of Gratitude, I am reminded of this wonderful hymn text from one of my Spiritual Mothers, Jane Marshall, whom I will light a candle for on All Saint’s Day:
Give thanks for the past, for those who had vision
who planted and watered, so dreams could come true…
This weekend we will remember and rejoice for the Bethany Saints who now surround us in the great cloud of witnesses. Our altar will feature longtime member Mossy Minner’s personal Bible. Candles will be lit by about 40 different families. The Choir will sing a song (Shalom) inspired by the life of one of my other Spiritual Mothers, Ginny Trawick. I stand on the shoulders of so many who have finished their race and am at the time of life where I need to do more planting and watering – because I am grateful for the saints who tended to me through the years. All shall be well.
Give thanks for the now, for study for worship,
for mission that bids us turn prayer into deed…
As we conclude our fall Stewardship Campaign, we do so in a different kind of cloud – the cloud of the unknowns. 2024 Bethany will be very different from 2023 Bethany. Even with all of the changes occurring, we are called to be faithful. I am grateful for those who will still call Bethany their church home in the New Year. We have much work to do. While I am sad about the inevitable loss of members, I also want to offer a blessing to those who will be leaving us. Your decision is not made without careful consideration and deep prayer. I know God has great things in store for both you and us – please know that in my heart, we are forever, “We.” All shall be well.
Give thanks for tomorrow, full of surprises,
For knowing whatever tomorrow may bring,…
Looking ahead, we have some new things coming up – A Music and Missions Concert on Sunday, December 17th at 6:30pm that will raise money for Methodist Children’s Home in Waco (with 13 Outreach Offices throughout Texas and New Mexico.) We will have new leaders with fresh ideas and some shifted roles on our church staff as we learn to navigate Bethany without Pastor Tom for the first time since 2001. Change can be scary, but change can also be energizing! As the newest pastors, both Stella and I have had positive experiences in making some changes at Bethany. And all manner of thing shall be well! (St. Julian of Norwich, 14th c.) I believe these things because Jesus is the Word, and:
…the Word is our promise always, forever;
we rest in God’s keeping and live in God’s love.
-Jane Marshall, UMH 87