Pastor’s Message | September 2020

          One thing that is distinctive about living in the Greater Philadelphia Area is the deep devotion that people have for our local sports teams.  Everywhere you go you see Eagles green, Phillies red, and Flyers orange.  I just learned this week that we have a lacrosse team, too.  People are deeply devoted and with every new season hope is renewed, and if the team takes a beating in one game, they look forward to the next one.  I may not follow sports, but I do appreciate the sense of ownership and participation, that people believe themselves to be a part of the team, confident that “WE are going to win!”

          Something that I have learned from 32 years of ordained ministry is that ALL ministry is a team effort.  I am so proud and grateful for all the hard work that our Church Council has been doing on behalf of Grace.  They have grown into a strong and faithful team of leaders who have had to make difficult decisions on our behalf about closing our building to worship, nursery school, and recovery groups.  They had to help build structures for communicating information, and have each figured out how to participate in remote worship and meetings.  These leaders worked to formulate a safe plan for a new Nursery School year, communicate information to families and staff, and in the end make the decision to suspend Nursery School until January in alignment with current school trends.  Council has been busy preparing for our first in-person worship service on September 13, and has sent out several communications describing what we can expect and how we are to embrace our safest practices when together.  And while all of this has been going on, Council continued through a discernment process endorsed at the annual Congregational Meeting in January, to investigate possibilities for Grace’s future.  Well done, team!

          Grace’s future is also full of teamwork.  On September 1 we will welcome Vicar Kayla Sadowy, who is our Resident Intern.  During my remaining weeks at Grace I will be working with our new ministry partner to help orient her to our congregation, incorporate her into ministry duties and opportunities in our congregation and Conference, and share worship leadership together.  Grace will form an Internship Team to support, evaluate, and interact with the Vicar.  This Team will be overseen by another partner, Pr. Tim Johansen of Temple, Havertown, who will serve as Vicar Kayla’s Internship Supervisor. 

          Speaking of partnering, in September we also begin the time of partnership with Temple, Havertown.  Pr. Tim has been identifying some families who will come and worship with us at Grace once a month, to bring us their energy, prayers, and offerings as a visual and physical reminder that we are not alone, but are part of the whole Body of Christ.  Due to current conditions from the pandemic, these partners may have to wait a little while to come and be with us until it is safer to do so.  Along with this partnership comes another new group, called the Guiding Team, which will be made up of three members from Grace and Vicar Kayla, three members of Temple and Pr. Tim, and Dr. William Flippin, Jr. who is SEPA Synod’s Director of Evangelical Mission.  Together this Team will study, pray, dream, and plan a trajectory for the mission and ministry at Grace.  How beautiful that Grace does not have to do this alone, but is supported all around by others who want to help make your vision a reality. 

          Don’t forget that you are part of the Team; we need your prayers, your vision, your energy and your ideas as Grace moves into the new things that God will be unfold among you.  In each new season may your devotion to Christ bring renewed hope to the People of Grace and to the community around you.

With you in God’s service,

Pastor Leslie M. Richard