A community church in North Andover, Massachusetts

Out Of My Mind – June 2020

I write this on May 12, a couple of days before my first anniversary as your interim, and I’m astonished how things have changed in the course of 12 short months. Perhaps, more accurately, the last three short months. Let me try to review this last year a bit, and then offer some conjectures about the future.

Our first interim year basically began with summer. A few meetings, but mostly getting to know each other. That was a good time because there was no rush and nothing breathing down our necks to get done. Who would have ever guessed what was on the way?

We slid comfortably into fall with a nascent Sunday School, choir, and the other regular activities of the church. September we had our annual retreat and special meeting to select the Pastoral Search Committee. Gradually, we became busier with the business and life of our church. And we came to know each other even better.

One of the best parts of the interim ministry is being allowed to participate in the life of a congregation, its ups and downs, its struggles and victories, its questioning and discovering answers. And so we shared Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even a new baby born to our membership. Wonderful experiences for God’s people through the year, and it has been wonderful to be with you.

One of the most important tasks of FCBC in the last year has been the search process. The committee has been diligent in its responsibilities. They were able to send out the demographic questionnaire to our members and friends, and many of them have been returned.

Unfortunately, most of our activity and most of our momentum has been short-circuited by circumstances ‘way beyond our control. We can still worship at home or on line or both, but we all know it “ain’t the same” as being together.

As our political leaders begin to open up the state, we should be able to begin returning to our church tasks. Our boards and committees will meet “off line”, we’ll be in worship in our beautiful sanctuary, we’ll have Fellowship Hours after church, the Sunday School and Bible studies will again be meeting, our other “normal” (Do I dare use the word these days?) activities will resume, and most of all, we will again revel in each other’s company. Personally, that’s what I look forward to the most, hearing your voices not filtered through a telephone or computer.

It has been an “Alice in Wonderland” year, and the wait to be with each other is frustrating. For now, the best we can do is stay healthy, keep in touch by phone, e-mail or note, and keep praying that God will make it possible for us to get together again soon.

Pastor Rob, interim