First Time in Worship
I had the great privilege this past Sunday of welcoming Roy and Julie Smith’s youngest son to his first worship service! Six-week-old Felix appeared to be quite relaxed during the gathering and even assisted me with the greeting and call to worship. After the service, over cups of coffee, we discussed theology and Dr. Coventry’s interpretation of the John 21 passage in the day’s sermon.
Days in Nzige
Last week on this day, Pastor Jeremy and I were arriving back from our trip to Rwanda. I want to express my thanks to Pearce’s Great Commission Leadership Team (GCLT) and to the Pearce family for the privilege of representing all of you in our “Linked with Love” partnership with the church and school in Nzige.
There are several thoughts I have as I reflect on our time there.
First, our partnership is making an impact. It is exciting to see the improvements to the school campus since my visit in 2015: the playground, the water tank, the renovated and new toilets, and the new primary classroom building. In a little more than two years, significant progress has been made. And that is speaking only of the physical aspects of the school campus. Teachers are now paid and are better equipped to teach. Food is now provided to the students during the school day. (When Pastor Jeremy and I arrived in Nzige, the first place where we were taken was a recently purchased banana “plantation” where fruit is grown for the students.) You are making a difference!
Second, the people of Nzige feel a connection with the Pearce family. Our original intent to have a strong relational aspect to this partnership is being realized. Pastor Jeremy and I were the fifth Pearce team to visit the village since the partnership began. Teams visited Nzige in January 2015, February 2016, August 2016, February 2017, and now August 2017. The frequency of our visits has provided wonderful opportunities to build relationships. We are getting to know them and they are becoming our friends. (A highlight for us on this trip was visiting the homes of three of the families in Pastor Fastin’s congregation. To sit in a family’s living room and listen as they share about their lives in Nzige is a precious opportunity and goes a long way in building connections.)
Third, there is much to be done in the coming years. The needs in Rwanda are significant. We cannot change the whole world; it is too daunting a task. But we can significantly impact one small community in rural Rwanda. If you aren’t sponsoring one of the children in Nzige, I urge you to do so. Call the church office today and ask Kim Brittin to reserve a child sponsorship packet for you.
Thanks for being a part of this significant and impacting partnership!
Our Youngest Generation
This past weekend, Dr. Allison Coventry powerfully shared what she thinks Jesus might say to her generation: Millennials. I will long remember her interpretation of John 21:22 and Jesus words to Peter, “What is that to you?” (If you missed her message, check out the podcast on our website!)
This weekend Rev. Kayleigh Schumske, the pastor of family ministries at Oak Ridge Free Methodist Church in Herkimer, New York, will be sharing what she imagines Jesus saying to Generation Z (those born after 1995). You may recall Pastor Kayleigh from her visit with us last summer. It’s fitting to have Kayleigh conclude our five-week series as her grandfather, Bishop Emeritus Richard Snyder, launched our series in July. I hope you’ll join us!
I’ll be back in the pulpit the weekend of September 2 and 3. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to share with you from God’s Word as I conclude my ministry as your lead pastor.
Welcoming Pastor Roger
September will be a significant month in the life of Pearce as we launch our ministries for the new church year and, especially, as we welcome our new lead pastor, Dr. Roger Haskins and his wife, Ellen, to our community.
Pastor Roger’s first weekend at Pearce will be, appropriately enough, on Homecoming Weekend (September 23 and 24). He will be preaching an inaugural sermon at worship services on both Saturday and Sunday. In addition, he’ll be interviewed by Dr. Deana Porterfield, president of RWC at 9am on Sunday, September 24. This interview, held in Parmerter Chapel, will provide a wonderful opportunity for you to become better acquainted with Pastor Roger.
Pastor Roger has graciously accepted my invitation to join me for Pearce’s worship services on September 9 and 10 for a “passing of the baton” as I symbolically pass the leadership of Pearce over to him. (I’ll stick around for one more weekend, savoring my final time with you as your lead pastor on September 16 and 17!)
I encourage you to keep Pastor Roger and Ellen in your prayers as they bid farewell to their family at Eastside and prepare to enter our lives here at Pearce Church! I am also grateful for your prayers as Mary and I transition to our new stage of life. Thank you for being such a loving faith community.