Sam came into my office last week with a big smile and said, “Happy Anniversary”! I looked at her quizzically, knowing my anniversary with Tari is September 2. She said, “OUR one year anniversary”! It’s hard to believe we have been here a year already. It seems like we were just being introduced yesterday.
This anniversary gives me the chance—and also on Sam’s behalf—to say “thank you”. You have all welcomed us with open arms and loving support. With the entire church staff—with a couple of notable exceptions—being only a couple of years or less on the job, we are still learning about Belle Meade UMC.
In the interest of full disclosure—and a little embarrassing to boot—we still don’t know all of your names. Please continue to be patient with us. We’ll get there. The more we can sit together in conversation over coffee or lunch, the quicker that will happen. So please don’t hesitate to set something up with us. Linda Schipani did that with me just a couple of weeks ago. She called to say, “I don’t know you, yet. Let’s have lunch." We did and had a lovely conversation. Thanks, Linda.
We have high hopes and expectations for our church. The visioning process we have completed and are now ready to roll out (next week!!) has been good for us to learn the history and dreams you have for our church and also a great chance to have your voices heard. We have taken them very seriously and can’t wait to unveil the results.
I am aware of the legacy of great pastors you have had here. Every morning I walk by the wall where their faces stare back at me as if to say, “This is a great church and we are counting on you and the staff to do great things. I had a conversation just a few weeks ago with Tom Cloyd. Tom and I worked together for a few years at the Conference Council on Ministries office and I loved him dearly. His passing last week is an occasion for sadness in me.
But it also serves as a reminder that I owe him—and all the others on that wall to do all I can to help our church be everything God dreamed us to be. We are counting on being full partners with you.