5|26|2022 A Story to Tell

<<First Name>>The grief came unexpectedly.  I am always moved by the moments we pause to remember and celebrate the servants in ministry who have passed away in the last year at the annual meeting of our denomination.  We have rituals of remembrance for clergy and their spouses, and those who have dedicated their lives to the ministry of the conference.  We also honor churches that make the difficult decision to close their doors and we tell stories of all the ways these churches have made an impact.  

But the moment of grief that caught me by surprise was the recognition of three churches that have chosen to disaffiliate around the denomination.  Two of these churches were places I had served.  I began my ministry as an intern at Crossroads Church Lakeville in 2002.  It was while I was an intern that I felt called to start Crossroads Church Elko New Market, and in 2013 I returned to Crossroads to begin working on bringing that dream into reality with the help of Pastors Paul & Deb and the people of Crossroads.  I also was appointed part time to Hillspring Church in New Prague at that same time, and served the great people there from 2013-2015 as we prepared to launch weekly services.  The third church leaving was pastored by a friend I have always looked up to, and first met when I counseled his daughters at camp.  Even though I knew they were leaving the denomination, and was respecting their decision, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

Bishop Bard said it well when he acknowledged that we don’t have rituals and customs to help us process those pastors and churches that may choose to leave us.  In twenty years of attending this gathering, it was the first time experiencing this moment.  I started thinking of all the ways these people and their churches have impacted my own call to ministry and growth as a leader.  I wanted to run to the microphone and share how much I had been touched by each of them. Yet the grief pushed me back, pinning me to my seat as Pastor Melissa and I tried to hold back our tears.  Grief does that, doesn't it?  It has a way of pushing us back, or pulling us away when what we really need is to come together.  

One of the greatest gifts I have the privilege of sharing with a family in grief is the opportunity to hear and receive their story.  Stories are powerful.  In grief they can bring joy and laughter to us even as we try to pick up the pieces of a broken heart.  Stories don’t just bring us comfort, they help us heal and process our grief, pulling us together when it feels like everything else is falling apart.  I am so grateful for the moments I have shared with each of these ministries.  Their story has been a part of my own.  They have supported my call to ministry, invested in my leadership, they have helped me follow my call.  While I grieve knowing I won’t see them at our denominational gatherings anymore, I know this is not the end for us either.  

I am especially grateful for Crossroads Church of Lakeville, Pastors Paul and Deb, and all that the people of Crossroads have invested in us in prayers and support as we launched our church here in Elko New Market.  Even when we made the move to become an independent daughter church they were gracious and understanding, encouraging us as we continued our ministry, and as I often put it, “moved out of mom and dad’s basement to start making it on our own.” While their journey has taken them down a different path from my own, I know they will continue to show their love and support as we continue to carry out the mission God has called us to. 

If you have ever been surprised by grief, if you have ever wondered how you can better respond to someone in grief, or maybe you have pushed others away, I invite you to join us this week as we continue our series Good Grief.  Because good grief pulls us together, even when we are falling apart.  

In Christ’s Service,

Pastor Gordon




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Join us for our series, Good Grief:
  • 5/15/2022 Experiencing the Heartache
  • 5/22/2022 The Promise We Find
  • 5/29/2022 A Story to Tel
  • 6/05/2022 Until We Meet Again

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