St. Matthias News, and some thoughts…

Dear Siblings in Christ,

“Some people use negative thoughts to circle their band wagon to protect against what is happening.” I learned this phrase recently from my therapist, who I continue to see monthly over the phone. Personally, I’ve been overwhelmed in my life because of this amazing transition from “vicar” at St. Matthias to “pastor” at whatever congregation calls me to minister with them. I’m excited about the future and yet trying to balance many things these days such as moving from Carlisle to a new town. On top of that, my car was in a bizarre accident yesterday (no one was hurt). And then there is the continued stress of this ongoing pandemic. And most recently, racism has reared its ugly head in our own time as people cry for justice in the midst of an already tumultuous time in world history. Perhaps you too have been overwhelmed lately, as I have, with everything going on in our world and your own personal lives. I think of our sister Pat who lost her sister this past week. If you’ve been struggling, you are not alone. If you are finding it difficult to find the proverbial silver lining, you also are not alone. There is much to be upset about lately.
And yet, as people of faith, as an Easter people, we trust, hope, and believe that Christ does triumph and he is in fact living. And we too shall live. This may seem a little churchy or spiritual, and it’s difficult to hold on to faith, hope, and love when the world at times seems void of these. And yet, just like those “crazy” disciples in the early church, we continue to take one step forward, and another step, and another step, knowing that we never walk this path alone. Indeed, we are “Family of God.” That means we are connected to 2000 years of walking this journey, and every sinner-saint that ever walked this journey, walked it in faith, faith that their lives meant something and were valuable to the Giver of Life. Faith that their dedication and persistence would amount to a legacy of faith of which you and I benefit and of which you and I are called to give to those who follow after us. Faith. Faith that you and I are called to speak Truth and Love and Hope in this time and place, and that God uses our experiences, words, and deeds to bless this broken and hurting world. Faith that God’s will is to heal us from our own sin as well. Faith. Faith that halts and breaks down vicious cycles of fear, hatred, and oppression.
My time as your vicar is coming to a close. It is too soon to give you details of what may be ahead for me. Believe me, conducting worship virtually and social distancely was not at all my ideal for our final months together. But just as I am excited and hopeful about my own future in this present chaos, so am I excited about your future. Vicar MJ and I have been in communication the past several weeks preparing for this transition ahead, just as Vicar Greg was in communication with me before I started 18 months ago. You continue to be a congregation that defies expectations and serves as a beacon of hope in this Lower Susquehanna Synod and beyond. Your prayerful discernment in adopting a Reconciling in Christ Welcome Statement served as a direct inspiration to at least three other churches in our synod. In the Carlisle community, you are becoming known as that little caring open-minded congregation that welcomes all people. I have faith that your future as a congregation is bright.
Expect me to be cheering for you, wherever I may end up. I know that I will be leaving you later this month with your cheers and support, and it is this spirit of gratitude that uplifts me. So, thank you.
A little uplifting music for your day:
May you be well till we meet again.

For Christian M. (Marines) and all service personnel.

For the family of Arlene Ringler (sister of Pat Hummel)

For the family and friends of Richard Terrace (best man of the Prates’)

For the family and friends of Richard Waibel (stepbrother of Jenny Prates)

For those in our community who are ill or recovering from illness this week, their friends, and the loved ones who care for them,

Don and Joanne, Jacques, Pam, Betty Lou, Mark, Paula, Pat, Judy, Seth, Paula, DJ, Margaret, the Valezquez family, the Boyne family, the Hanes family, the Sherman family, the Sheaffer family, Marleen’s brother Larry (liver disease), Sally (friend of Kathy Gold)
and all who ask the Lord’s healing and mercy.
Christ is Risen!
Vicar Tom

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