Greetings! I’m writing this on my first day as your Interim Pastor. I moved a few things into my office and so now I’m ready to get started with my work. I’ve been trying to decide what to write for my first ponderings for the newsletter. I guess a good place to start is to tell you a little something about myself.
I’m married to my fantastic husband, Don Rowe (no relation to the Don Rowe who served as District Executive for Mid-Atlantic years ago). We have two married sons, Nicholas and Zachary; and four grandchildren, three boys and one girl. Don and I live in Westminster, while the rest of our family lives in Lancaster County, PA. We have a chocolate lab named Royce and a cat named Marvin.
My favorite place to vacation is at the beach, usually Ocean City, MD. I enjoy riding motorcycles with my husband (I have my own Harley), spending time at the Rowe cabin, going for walks, scrapbooking, cooking, sleeping-in…and most of all, spending time with family.
Prior to becoming a pastor, I was a stay-at-home mom, and I helped Don with a custodial service we started together. I served as Pastor of Nurture for ten years at the Conestoga COB in Leola, PA, twelve years as Minister of Christian Nurture at Westminster COB and seven years as Chaplain at Fahrney-Keedy Senior Living Community.
It was a curious thing for me that God would lead me to serve as Chaplain at FKHV. It was not what I was expecting; but I find that’s the way God works often times. So, even as I questioned God about this path of service, I settled-in and had enjoyed my work. Then five months ago, it became obvious to me that God was once again redirecting me down a different ministry path. I wondered why. I felt confused, sad and even angry…all of which are coping strategies for grief.
As I look back now on my ministry at FKHV, I recognize God’s hand and purposes for placing me there. I am awed and grateful by God’s leading. While I loved and ministered to the residents, I also was growing in my ministry skills and in my understanding of the mission field we are called to go into and “make disciples”. I’ll say more about that at another time. And now, God has called me to serve as your interim pastor. God truly is good.
You also are experiencing change. You likely felt settled in with the direction you and your pastors were taking in being Christ’s presence to each other and in your community. But now you find yourselves in transition again…maybe asking why…and struggling with similar feelings I had as you grieve your loss of two beloved pastors.
It’s natural to grieve at times like this. It is necessary to acknowledge your grief and to make the journey through it. With God’s help, you will make that journey as you look back on where you have been and celebrate and give thanks for God’s leading and your growth. Little by little, while letting go of what was, you will take what you learned and journey down a new path that God lays before you.
That will be my focus as I walk with you through this time. I will be listening to what you are feeling and encouraging you as you make this journey. Also, we will be intentional about our worship; providing us with an opportunity to immerse ourselves in God’s care and love. I know God is at work in each of you and in who you are together. May the wisdom found in the words of Proverbs 3:5 give you direction to begin this journey, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” You do not need to travel through this change alone. Trust God and not the grief you may be feeling. God is with HCOB. God is doing something.