With a hitch in his step and a little danced jig, Jackie Gleason would utter that line and launch into his program after completing his monologue. Now, for those of you too young to know who Jackie Gleason was, one – keep it to yourself, and two – Google him and find out.
After having celebrated our first service together, I feel we have launched our common ministry in a wonderful way. I’m overwhelmed with the enthusiasm we experienced and thankful for the graciousness you’ve shown my family and me.
The opportunity to live and sojourn is a unique thing for each of us. Six months ago, the thought of serving anywhere other than where I was did not enter the realm of possibility. And now, living among you, I am sure that there is no other place that I’m called to be for this season of my life.
We’ll have opportunity to get to know each other as the weeks become months, and the months become years – many years, I pray. Together, led by the Spirit, I believe Covenant Church’s moment to make an impact in the community has yet to reach its height. Let us commit to that journey…together.
And now, a quick word about my friend and colleague, Lora Jean Gowan. As the reality of this appointment became clear, I knew that the need for an Associate Minister was critical. I needed someone with pastoral experience, a pastor’s heart, a caring spirit, and prophetic fire. I needed someone who could walk in the door with me and be team with me from day one. There was only one person who fit the bill. I’m thankful to God that she’s working with me and we, together, are ministering for, with and among you. I’m thankful to our District Superintendant, Rev’d Barry Henson, for taking up the charge to make this match of our gifts with this place happen, and to Bishop Dick Wills, for believing in us.
Now, you folks here at Covenant do things a bit different than I’m conditioned to, so we’ve got some figuring out to do together. Since I am the pastor of the whole church, and a good contingent of my congregation worships in a different venue at the same time worship takes place in the sanctuary, I was concerned about being in two places at once. God has gifted me with many things, simultaneous presence, ain’t one of ‘em!
Here is how Lora Jean and I are going to begin our work among you. Included in this edition of the newsletter is a preaching schedule through August. The coming Sunday’s preaching schedule will be posted on our website Monday morning of the new week. We will share preaching leadership at the 8:30 a.m. service, and I will preach monthly and on 5th Sundays at Crosswalk. That is 16 times a year. I’m eager for the opportunity and challenge each service brings.
For now, and on the foreseeable horizon, we are both going to preach from the Lectionary. We are using that tool as a means to frame our worship and common life around Christ story told through a given year. Lectionary preaching pushes us all to life afresh with the Holy Scripture. I challenge us all to become reacquainted with Scripture as a means to tell us who we are as God's people, and who we shall be; members of God's family and co-laborers in working toward the Realm of God coming into being on earth as it is in heaven.
As for me? You'll find much of who I am and what I write on my blog, www.johnnyjeffords.blogspot.com . There you'll find stuff that has preoccupied my thoughts over the years. Some of it will be sermons, some of rants about things going on in the world, and some of it will be a little bit about not much. You may agree with my perspective, and some of it you won't. And that's really o.k. Our capacity to be in fellowship precisely because we are not all the same is evidence of God's grace.
So, if you're ready, I am...and away we go!