You Are Welcome Here
Paris Originals Volume 1
May you live in interesting times.
Those words are often quoted as an ancient Chinese curse, although they cannot be corroborated as such. Wherever they came from, they ring true in the lives we live. Uninteresting times are eras when nothing much is changing. Interesting times are those periods of upheaval when change is everywhere—some of it good, some of it bad. Anyone with even a modicum of perceptiveness knows that the church in America is living through some incredibly “interesting times.”
When I graduated from seminary in 1977 I was equipped with the theological and practical tools needed to be a pastor. By the time I retired last year most of those tools were utterly obsolete. I had to learn new ways of leading a congregation that my mentors and professors could not have imagined. The same forces of change apply to anyone who is committed to the church. All of us are being challenged to rethink what it means to be the church, and to be courageous enough to try new ideas. In many ways we are not unlike those Christians in the early centuries: we are making it up as we go along.
I look forward to making it up with you as we go along together for the next three months. I do not presume to have the answers Immanuel United Church of Christ needs for thriving in the years to come, but I firmly believe God’s Spirit speaks most often, not to us, but between us. Therefore, I encourage you to prayerfully read Thom Rainer’s book I Will: Nine Traits of the Outwardly Focused Christian. I hope you will join me after worship every Sunday for an open, honest discussion of the book, my sermon that day, as well as any thoughts, feelings, and ideas stirred up within you. I am praying it will be a fruitful time of discovery for all of us.
Thank you for the opportunity to be your Part Time Pastor while Pastor Susan is away. I am excited to see what God has in store for us.
The Rev. Dr. Paris Donehoo