WHERE HAS THE TIME GONE?
When Nadine and I came to Moline in June of 2003 both the community and the church were in very different situations. Elim Covenant and First Covenant Churches were trying to plant a congregation in Iowa. The Case Plant in East Moline was still operational, and though we knew operations would be moving to Nebraska, there was a great deal of talk about how the Case site would be used. As we all know too well, plans do not always go as you expect and there needs to be adaptability to meet the situations as they exist. As I have said many times, the congregation will be calling a pastor who has a different emphasis on ministry and a different talent mix than you have had for many, many years, going back at least 75 years in time. But with a lot of prayer, and a reliance on the leading of God, I am sure that you will be led to the right person to be your pastor. I am sure that God has great things in store for this congregation if you are only open to follow his leading.
Nadine and I would like to thank you all for the love and support we have experienced here over the years. There have been times of physical or family crisis in which we knew that we were enveloped by your prayers and love. Thank you for that. I would also like to thank you for opening up your lives to me and allowing me to be your pastor in times of trial, pain, sickness and personal loss. It has been a great privilege to serve as your pastor and be entrusted with your spiritual care for these 17 plus years.
Nadine and I would also like to thank the congregation for the retirement open house on Sunday, September 27th and for the congregational gifts we received. They were very much appreciated. The lamp that was given will always remind us of you and also of Ps. 119:105 which reads, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my path and a light unto my feet.” We also greatly enjoyed the video greeting from many of you. Thank you for making the effort to be involved. We know that many were not able to be on the video but have let us know of their love and appreciation in cards or in person. We are also very grateful to the committee that was responsible for putting together all the events and parts of that special weekend. A lot of hard work went into pulling it all off and keeping the video a secret from us. We were truly surprised.
As the pastoral call process progresses, I will be continuing to be at the church and preaching on Sunday mornings through October, so our good-byes are not quite done. But when Nadine and I finally do make the move to Grand Rapids MI, you will continue to be in our hearts and prayers. We will stay in our house here in Moline until a unit opens for us to purchase in Covenant Living of the Great Lakes, as the community is officially called in Grand Rapids. While relocating after retiring from a church is not always ideal, unless there are extenuating circumstances, the denomination prefers that pastors who retire not stay in the same area as the church they served. It is better for the church and for the new pastor if it occurs that way.
Thank you again for all you as a congregation mean to us and all the care we have received from you.