Dear Ginghamsburg Family,
It’s been a minute, but I still can remember the first time I visited Ginghamsburg Church. I was sitting in the original church building off County Road 25A, hearing stories of your faith and realizing there was something about this church – and about you. It’s the people here that compelled me to want to be part of God’s story through this movement, and here’s why…
You are a people who love Jesus and do something about it. You have been a tangible example of personal piety – that is, taking seriously your commitment to tend to your growth, Bible reading and reflection, prayer and fasting – as well as social holiness through your commitment to ensure that everyone has access to food, water and the equity promised in Jesus’ description of the kingdom of God.
Ginghamsburg, you’ve engaged in calling people in versus calling people out, not shying away from the hard conversations. So often we’re tempted to get caught up in being right over being in relationship, yet over and over again you’ve intentionally chosen the practices of asking anything, listening well, freely disagreeing and loving regardless. You’ve rejected self-righteous forms of fundamentalism – both conservative and progressive – and chosen to stay humble and walk a harder road.
You’ve continually invited people to your tables in our church buildings and through communion – absolutely – but also in your homes. You’ve reminded your neighbors, family, and friends that Jesus eats with everyone. Monday, as our Leadership Board and Lead Team gathered for a meal, we shared stories of how the Holy Spirit has worked in and through all of us over the last eight years. It’s not been an easy path: there have been many bumps and bruises along the way. But while sitting together I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit so thick it seemed I could reach out and touch it. Honestly, those moments felt straight out of Acts, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.” (Acts 2:42-43).
There truly is something holy about gathering around a table with great food and even better company. …remembering just how beautifully you’ve discipled my kids to serve out of their own call and giftedness. Remembering how you championed Jon and I in our marriage relationship. Remembering how you’ve prayed for us through pregnancies, health issues, leadership transitions, and COVID. Remembering the times you invited me into the pain of your loss through death, divorce, and unwanted diagnosis. It’s hard for me to believe, but I was only 33 years old when I became a pastor in the Ginghamsburg movement. You’ve shaped my faith, challenged my theology, and encouraged me to live what I say I believe. So, thank you, thank you, thank you for being who God has called you to be, Ginghamsburg! I will always hold you in my heart and cherish these years as your pastor.
I love you,