FROM PASTOR CHARLIE ...

is in the air at church. There's the excitement of our renovated building, leaders old and new are at the helm of our ministries, and the program year begins. Oh, and there's my retirement in mid-November. The Search Committee is at work for the church to welcome a new senior minister in 2018.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth and I are trying to imagine life in retirement. Among some old papers, we found a pastor's column I wrote back in January 1982 when we faced another challenging life adjustment. Our daughter had just been diagnosed with diabetes. What I wrote then still seems relevant today:

Several of you commented on my New Year's sermon, 'Starting Over.' Some for whom it hit home are having to start over after a personal tragedy. Some are starting over in response to a fresh, exciting challenge. There are so many times when we must, for better or worse, start over with some aspect of life.

As Elizabeth and I were adjusting to the change in our life with Anne's diabetes, it appeared we were unconsciously following a 4-step process.

  1. Accept the new reality as a fact. It cannot be avoided.
  2. Look to God for strength. We can't make it alone. We need others and we need God.
  3. Learn what must be done, the skills required, the tasks to be undertaken.
  4. Start in, hard as that may be. Life goes on and the future with God is bright.

God has channeled his strength and love through so many of you. We are thankful for your prayers, your kind words, your helping hands. God will bless you in return.

It's all still true!

Gratefully,
Charles Hambrick-Stowe