Still saying my thanks this week...
Holy Covenant UMC, Carrollton
Of all the churches I have served Holy Covenant challenged me to grow in my understanding of God the most. I entered seminary theologically conservative on every issue. When I graduated from Perkins I considered myself to be theologically moderate, but politically conservative. When I finished my internship at Holy Covenant I considered myself theologically moderate and politically moderate.
Even after getting off to an auspicious start with my Lay Teaching Committee (sorry Susan!), this group of dedicated people met with me for two hours once a month to critique my sermons, discuss my pastoral care, push my theological thinking, and encourage me to be the best pastor that I could be. Susan, Charlie, Jan, Randy, Jim, Evan, and Cheryl spent many hours reading my reflection papers, discussing my sermons, and helping me to articulate my theological understanding of local church ministry. I am deeply indebted to these wonderful folks because I am a better pastor today because of the time they invested in me.
The congregation as a whole surrounded me with support as I learned how to find my voice in the pulpit, find my teaching style in the classroom, and find my way around the justice issues within our community. I even got to write a few book reviews for the Dallas Morning News thanks to a member of Holy Covenant!
To my Disciple 1 class - thank you for not falling asleep when I went off on a tangent about some random biblical fact that had little to do with our lesson and even less to do with your lives! To Sharyn, Jana, Becky, Carol, Denise, Debbie, and Don - thank you for allowing me to be part of your lives and for teaching me what it means to be part of a staff. To the whole congregation of HCUMC - thank you for loving Debbie and I while we were there and continuing to care about us after we left. Thank you also for giving this "greenhorn" an opportunity to stretch his wings and see if he could fly. Thanks for picking me up when I fell and teaching me grace in the midst of learning how to "do church"!
Tomorrow - Trietsch Memorial UMC, Flower Mound!