The writer Henry Thoreau once said “All change is a miracle to contemplate, but it is a miracle which is taking place every instant.”
For many at AHCC, the changes taking place this spring do not feel miraculous. Matt’s decision to bring his ministry to a close here has been a jarring change, leaving people in our church family to deal with a host of emotions including sadness, anxiety and even anger. As members of the clergy team and Matt’s colleagues, we have watched with worry and deep pastoral concern as he and our church leadership struggled to avoid this outcome. We have been close to the pain and know that this was not an easy decision for anyone involved.
What is so difficult for us is the realization that despite serious disagreements, all of the voices in this struggle love this wonderful church. That love is a refrain we’ve heard over and over again from so many of you. We have also heard a wide variety of responses to Matt’s news. Some of you have said you are contemplating leaving AHCC, others have voiced deep misgivings about systematic failures, while still others are seemingly hopeful that from these difficult times new life will arise.
Friends, we want you to know that wherever you are right now – it’s OK! And more than that, we are here to walk with you through this season of uncertainty. As your pastors please know that we are here for you and for this community of faith. Please feel free to contact us and talk with us in the days and weeks to come, to share your thoughts and feelings – your sadness and anger, your disappointments and your hopes.
We have centered our summer worship series on the theme of Healing, exploring the healing of Mind, Body and Spirit as well as relationships, groups, and systems. For specific topics, please see page 9. Beloveds, it would be dishonest to say that the work ahead of us is going to be easy, but if we, like Matt said in his letter, can lean in and stay close to one another, we DO believe as faithful disciples we CAN overcome the pain and brokenness we are experiencing now.
So as the next few months unfold, let us see and use this time to begin to do the hard work of both SPEAKING honestly and LISTENING deeply to one another. Let us support and love one another through this season of uncertainty. And remember, we love this church as you do. Friends, as the writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us, there is indeed a time and a season for every matter under heaven. In this season may we recommit ourselves to be the Body of Christ, allow ourselves to feel the Spirit guiding us, pointing us to a future where the difficulty of today may, through God’s grace, transform into a miracle.
In peace and love. Always,
Erica and John