September 8, 2021
In his article "Between Two Advents," Will Willimon writes that the church has been in an interim period -- between the 1st Advent of Jesus, and anticipating the 2nd coming of Jesus -- for more than 2000 years.
This should be a comfort to those of us who have been in an interim for at least a year and a half. For what seems like an excruciating amount of time we have been "in-between." We are in between pre-Covid and post-Covid. We are in between having had a settled pastor and calling a new pastor. Even in our SNEUCC we are in between the Massachusetts Conference and the emerging Southern New England Conference, and we are, at long last, welcoming our new settled Conference Associate, Alex Shea Will. This is plenty of interim for any community!
The Edens' have also been in an interim for a long time. For 38 years we served the same community: United Church of Chapel Hill in NC. We could not imagine another congregation or another home other than the ones we loved in Chapel Hill. Since our retirement in 2017 we have moved four times. We have been living, by choice, in liminal space because of the rich fruit it bears. With each move, with each church, our fascination with the transition process grows. We become less attached to our "stuff." As pastors with each move we become less attached to our territory, to our prerogatives, to our place. We have grown in our love and appreciation for each parish and the love and tenacity of congregations in a challenging time. We have discovered that we love "falling in love" with churches while we accompany them in their transition to a settled ministry.
We suspect that people look back on these times in transition as pivotal. We are honored to be invited to join you in this journey. We can promise that in retrospect it will seem like the blink of an eye. Even now God is preparing you and preparing your new Senior Minister for a new day. "'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11
With you "between Advents,"
Jill and Richard Edens