So yesterday, June 9, it was seven years since I first presided at worship as pastor of this congregation. I commented to my secretary on some of the changes over seven years, citing as an example the members of our congregational council. As I run down the list I think there are currently only three or four who were members of council back then. Four of the council members weren't even members of our congregation back then. Five of the council members had either been inactive church members or had moved away and since come back.
On Monday I had a funeral which makes a total of 73 funerals since I've been here. They were not all active members but some were.
A couple of Sundays ago we had confirmation which makes a total of 20 kids that have made an affirmation of their baptism while I've been pastor here. About six of them still come to church on any kind of a regular basis. Another two come maybe once or thrice a year.
I've baptized 28 babies and children and one adult. About five of them come to church and Sunday School.
Some of that might sound like complaining, but I'm really happy here. There is a good spirit in this church. There is love for one another, wonderful fellowship, a welcoming atmosphere. Sure there's room for growth. Not just in numbers (quite a bit of room for that) but growth in faithfulness and service and witness to our community. But I think that's coming.
This Sunday's gospel reading describes the growth of a seed without the farmer knowing how it grows. It's like St. Paul writes, that it's "only God who gives the growth" (1 Cor 3:7). The Holy Spirit is present in this faith community and if we continue to be a gospel people then God will give the growth.
Wow! Seven years! I'm hoping for a lot more. I love this place. I love these people. I'm not getting itchy feet or any desire to move on from here.