Yes, I am a bad blogger. It isn't that I have ignored my blog. It's more that I've ignored just about everything for a few weeks now. Except our new space. And my wife, who would probably argue with her inclusion in the not-ignored-since-the-week-before-holy-week list.
I've said several times that if you had told me as a seminarian that I would pastor a church in a storefront I probably would have cried. It wasn't exactly my "ideal ministry situation." But after worshiping in a banquet hall space sharing its back wall with a bowling alley, I have to say: the storefront--not so bad.
Actually, the bowling alley was not so bad either, though it did create a rather odd atmosphere for Good Friday. But Linda, who ran the place, was really great to us, and we were able to take a breather, which we needed. I think we were ready to move on when we did, which is always a good thing.
And the new place is fabulous! It really is. It's a storefront. It's not in the best shape. It's small. But it is ours. And Niki made it feel wonderful with perfectly chosen colors and accoutrements and layout, which she worked with and worked with until she had everything right. And it is right. Garryl and Bob were here all week, practically, helping with moving and setting up. Scott was here nearly all week as well, and gave us the thrill of doing a baptism on our first Sunday in the new space! Rick was here to help unload chairs and to answer all the questions the rest of us can never answer. Valorie, Sheryl and Lisa took time off from work to be here. Valorie and Rick painted my office at night after they both worked at their regular jobs. Brandon and Tavis took an office full of boxes and more boxes and made a space you could actually work in. Then they went out and got shelves and a big cabinet to put the rest of the stuff in. Trudy came down and helped set up the space. And has given us the perfect pieces of furniture for the sanctuary. I've probably forgotten someone. I hope not. Dona joked on our first Sunday that it might be easier for those who weren't here helping to raise their hands. We didn't do that, of course. There are good reasons why others were unable to help that week. I know they were praying for the workers and for a blessing on our new place. It's just been amazing to see the community give so much of their time and themselves to make this our own place.
If you had told me in seminary that I would be lucky enough to become the pastor of a community this giving and loving and kind, I probably wouldn't have believed you.
God is great. The people of Abiding Peace are most certainly created in God's image.