Pastor’s Report 2015

posted Jan 30, 2016, 6:22 PM by Cameron Hubanks   [ updated Jan 30, 2016, 6:25 PM ]

Range of Emotion-A year in review

I did something different this year in preparing for the year end annual report. I quietly sat at church, took the stack of all the 52 bulletins from the year 2015, and glanced at them week by week. I noticed the roll call of scheduled meetings of the Council, the Long Range Planning, and the Guild. I remembered the meetings where area pastors gathered to discuss collaborative ways to work together and still do faithful ministry. I read the prayer list from each week and noticed the new names and remembered the moments when someone was diagnosed with cancer, or someone entered the hospital. I felt the angst and worry again in that moment as I recall the look on the faces of concerned loved ones as I would listen to stories of pain and illness. Sadness filled my heart when I read the names of Ruth Wittwer and Annatta Tollefson and the grief of their passing. I remember thinking at the time that it becomes more difficult to say goodbye when one has been with families of the church for an extended time.

This church family, like other families experienced change this year. To clarify further, Zwingli was in a time of conflict in 2015. Unfortunately, this challenging time was trying and difficult. It felt like we were truly lost and did not know what to do. In the midst of that time it was the 10 year anniversary of my time at Zwingli. I remember the details of my first day back on August 1, 2005. I had arrived to the church early on a weekday to enthusiastically begin this new adventure. I used my new key, entered in, looked around, and there was no place to lay out some books and work. The office area was crammed with storage stuff. I was confused, so I called Jon Sayles, council president at the time, and he came over. He moved some things around and pulled out an old communion table. Jon pulled out a drawer and stamped into the wood was Meizewitz Lumber. Kiel Wisconsin. We laughed at that coincidence. Before Jon left and returned to his chores he apologized and said, “Sorry, we just weren’t prepared for you.”

Again and again I thought of those words this year, newly married to Amy, and the church struggling to become Open and Affirming. “We just weren’t prepared.” Over the year I have come to understand this and come to be at peace with this.

I returned to the bulletins, now into the springtime and I was amazed flipping through, how fast a year goes. I noticed we sang “A Hymn of Promise”, and proclaimed the Easter message of Hope and New Life. I read sermon titles, “God is our refuge and strength.”

New life came into the garden to greet Mary-she didn’t recognize him- “We just weren’t prepared for you to die Jesus.” A new baby needs to be born into the troubled world. It was an imminent need. “We have no room for you in the Inn, we just weren’t prepared for you to be born Jesus.”

Our world can be shaken. Our world can change and we may not be prepared, because we do not know what next year’s bulletins may bring. What we do know is God is an everlasting God who shares love unconditionally again and again, and again. This is a promise that we can hope for, build upon, seek refuge and strength. We will get through all of this!! The losses, the grief, the sickness. We made it through.

Three beautiful babies, Addison, Edward and Olivia were baptized, and welcomed into our faith family the end of and beginning of the year. Jesus said, I am the beginning and the end, making all things new. Let’s move forward in the New Year, being faithful and sharing that unconditional love to those who need it, because God has prepared us to do just that! 

Blessings, Pastor Sara