Well, here we are, that kind of Bob Hope moment (“Thanks for the Memories”) or Carol Burnett closing (“I’m so glad we had this time together”). Two years of Interim Ministry time has passed and it was insightful for me and memorable.
Thank you, congregation of Maple Grove United for your support, your honest feedback, your sharing in new ventures in ministry, your care and love. There is a depth of faith and dedication in this congregation that will enable you to endure and carry on in ministry for some years yet. The breadth of expertise and excellence in service among your volunteer leadership is utterly outstanding. Even during this Covid-19 lockdown experience, you remain in solid financial and spiritual health. There is a widely shared sense of community here where the regulars remind one of the clientele at Cheers bar in Boston (“Where everybody knows your name”) and where newcomers find themselves quickly integrated, included, and valued. Your children and youth may seem few, but they are bright, caring, and kind.
You will continue to value and seek excellence in music and inspirational worship. You have an active, informed, and engaged Outreach Team that will help guide you in focusing on poverty issues and environmental concerns. Your Caring Team provides helpful and sincere support and prayerful attention to persons who are ill, grieving, or experiencing other stressors. Your Finance, Stewardship, and Property Teams offer quality and stellar supportive ministry. Your Worship and Music team ensure that all the needed volunteers are recruited, that regular assessment and evaluation of worship services happens. Your Communications group has had to step up to the plate and learn new skills in addition to the faithful service they regularly offer. Your Ministry and Personnel Team undertakes their responsibilities with diligence and caring support for your staff. Your Christian Education Team has met and conferred as to how to offer and uphold ministry with children and youth during these unusual times. Dorothy Gartshore and her Membership Team helpers are on a roll. You are blessed by the superb ministry and work contributed by Bobbi-Jo, Deborah, and Eran. Your Council meets regularly and seeks to have the best interests and optimum health of the congregation ever on their hearts and minds. Rev. Kerry Stover will be blessed by this whole breadth of engagement and assistance that underpins ministry and mission at Maple Grove.
I believe you are ready, eager, and poised to move on with the ministry and service to which God is now calling you. The strictures of Covid-19 may slow some of that down, but they will not hamper it, diminish your ability to touch and impact other’s lives, nor bar you from being effective ambassadors of God’s love and justice to the community around you and to the world we now live in.