We finally find ourselves in mid-August, and after much anticipation, I am thrilled this weekend will mark the official beginning of Sean’s ministry with us. He will be arriving to town this Friday, and will be in worship this Sunday. Please come and introduce yourselves (I’ve told him we save the name test for at least a week) and help him feel welcome in our community.
We have convened a Transition Team for Sean – Anne Hall, Hannah Mahoney, Tim Pearson and Erin Price – who will be helping him get oriented and setting up times for him to meet with as many of you as possible in the next couple of months. We should have an initial schedule of these opportunities in next week’s Extra.
Sean will be spending the next few weeks listening, getting to know people, and learning about our congregation – our values, our stories, our challenges and our hopes. In the next few months he will begin to take the lead on our membership ministry, our pastoral care, and our small groups. You’ll see him in Worship on Sundays, he’ll be leading classes, and he’ll be piloting a new program called Wellspring. And more important than any specific thing he may do, I am most grateful to know he will be a caring, wise, faithful partner to all of us as we travel life’s journey together.
Finally, I have to end this otherwise happy announcement with something less so. Because Sean is a Canadian citizen, we have had to apply for a Visa. Unfortunately, this application process has become more complicated in the past few years, so that a site inspection to verify we are a church is required. This site inspection has a 6 month waiting list. As a result, we are now anticipating a likely approval of December. During this waiting period, Sean is able to continue to live in the United States, and I am grateful to report that he has generously agreed to volunteer his time with us. Rest assured we have been working with legal counsel throughout this process to ensure we and Sean are in complete compliance with the law, and our attorney is confident he will receive his Visa after the inspection concludes.
I hope you’ll all join me this Sunday in welcoming Sean -and in these coming months ensuring that we have a great beginning to a wonderful new shared ministry.