Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Seasons of Change

Our pastor is retiring this month after 43 years in the ministry. The last 8 1/2 years have been spent here in Eastern Montana serving a district that would have made a lesser man quail. The district includes 4 churches and a branch Sabbath School, all of which are spread over an area larger than the state of Maryland. Not to mention the contributions and patience of his faithful wife, Ruthie---it's not easy getting dragged all over the countryside, especially THIS countryside!

Last Sabbath was his final sermon in our pulpit. He still had one more sermon to go at another one of his churches, but they weren't us, so they don't count. It was bittersweet to listen, knowing this was our last time, but you can't say he hasn't earned a little R&R.

Not that pastors ever really retire. But it will be nice to be a different kind of busy.

 There was a potluck after church----hey, we're Adventists, there's ALWAYS a potluck involved----and we enjoyed the time of fellowship and good eats. I personally found the plethora of deserts a tad challenging since I was trying to save room for the hot dog roast planned that evening.

The Walikonis' graciously invited the whole church out for a farewell social on their farm. We had a wonderful evening visiting and making sure the younger set didn't cast themselves into the fire. There were some close calls, but I consider any evening that involves fire a rousing success if it doesn't end in the emergency room!

 It's always nice to take a break from the ordinary routine and come apart for a little while. Even Jesus did that with His disciples because life has a way of swallowing you up if you're not careful. There's always something to do, and you have to learn to take a deep breath, let "things" sit, and spend some time with friends and family.

Jackie, the Beautiful Border Collie was excited to see her VERY FIRST SHEEP EVER! Unfortunately, the sheep are guarded by a dedicated watch dog and this was as close as she could approach. Still, it will forever remain an epoch of her life.

After eating hot dogs, s'mores, and home-made ice cream, the group met inside for a short vespers and worship. We enjoyed the premier performance of the hastily-organized Plentywood Men's Chorus and some special presentations of thanks to Pastor and Ruthie. Then it was time to say goodnight. When people have to drive one and two hours to get home, the visiting gets a little truncated.

Now to see what kind of new pastor we are getting---always exciting.

I'm a pretty easy-going person and will be happy with whomever they pick. As long as he is, oh, about 38....handsome....unmarried....

With a strong preference for cats.

Lots of cats.

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