Sunday, June 22, 2014

Good bye and Hello

Girdwood Chapel recently said "good-bye" to our interim pastor, the Rev. Linda Jean Myers, who has been reassigned to nearby Chugiak (AK) UMC.  In her next-to-last sermon at the chapel, Linda Jean said:

"As my time with you winds down, here are some ways I've seen the Spirit at work here in my year and a half among you as Interim Pastor .... 

• You share the gifts of the Spirit, connecting people to God and a reverence for the Holy
• The Food Pantry reaches out in tangible ways to help people in the community
• When someone was sick and needed someone else to take out their trash or pick up a few items in Anchorage,
you have responded
• Here the children learn about Jesus and receive heaping portions of Holy Communion
• They hear Bible stories and are challenged to memorize Scripture passages
• They have seen how sacred we hold the Holy Bible by receiving one of their own
• I've seen connections with persons through the "Heaven @ 7" services, the Thanksgiving dinner at the fire station, the community Easter service and Christmas Pageant at the Resort
• I've seen this community of faith reach out to the local school and quietly help with individual needs
• I've seen how God's love shared here has the power to heal, to enable people to shoulder silent burdens
• I've been privileged on your behalf to receive checks and words of praise from volunteer work teams or 
community groups who say, "Thank you, Girdwood Chapel, for living by the example of what it means to be a Christian"
• We have made a difference in persons' lives many times without being aware
• I've seen first-hand how the community responded to your incredible hospitality last year during Forest Fair and we, 
in turn, were blessed because of it

This is your gift, Girdwood Chapel -- building relationships and creating community.  You do it amongst people in this community and ones who travel here.  There is strength in your diversity. 

Don't forget that, as people of faith, pretty much 95% of what we believe is a belief that we hold in common.  Don't let the small things divide us. 

You have persevered for over 60 years in Girdwood.  That you have continued in this ministry this long is a work of the Holy Spirit.

Sometimes I hear folk ask if the church will be here much longer.  Again, the church is changing.  It may not look like the church we have known all our lives.  But we will be here just as long as we continue to make ourselves available for the work of God--the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and for that work to be carried on through us.

When we stop being useful--when we give up on our mission of changing the world, one prayer, one song, one person at a time, then we will cease to be a church.

The good news is -- God's not done with us yet!

Thanks be to God for the ways the Holy Spirit has worked, is working and will work through the people of Girdwood Chapel.  Amen!"

Girdwood Chapel Welcomes ...

Rev. Sandy Ward

Sandy comes to us from Missouri UMC in Columbia, Mo.  She will speak to us as pastor for the first time on Sunday, July 6th.  Please make plans to attend to welcome her (and her family) to Girdwood.