“Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”
(Romans 12:10 ESV)
Dear Friends in Christ,
Not all of the commandments in Scripture are easy to follow, some of them can be downright hard, but some of them are a sheer joy to fulfill. In last week’s eCare, our Senior Pastor, Rick Wolling, took the opportunity to share his appreciation for me as his pastor. I am deeply grateful and humbled by his comments and this week it is truly my joy to try and outdo him in showing him honor for his leadership to so many of us.
Yesterday, October 14, 2015, marked Rick and Mary’s 30th Anniversary of ministry at Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church. On Tuesday the Session adopted and endorsed a letter of appreciation and thanks to Rick for his long obedience to the Lord and to this ministry. Below is a copy of the letter.
If you would like to share in this appreciation and celebration of Rick and Mary, I encourage you to take the opportunity to mail Rick and Mary a card or send them an email to congratulate them.
A Letter of Appreciation and Thanks to the Rev. Dr. Richard G. Wolling
in Honor of His 30th Anniversary as
Senior Pastor of the Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church
…the pervasive element in our two-thousand-year pastoral tradition is not someone who “gets things done” but rather the person placed in the community to pay attention and call attention to “what is going on right now” between men and women, with one another and with God…
Eugene Peterson, The Pastor
When one reflects on thirty years, it is only natural to think about what has changed over that time. Perhaps such reflection is part of our nature given that our bodies change so much over thirty years as we get older. Our families also change as our mothers and fathers pass away, our children grow up and get married and grandchildren enter our lives. Our places of employment change as well as our relationships as we move to new cities to work new jobs and find new friends. Our communities change—I’m sure Long Island looks a lot different now then it did when you were growing up.
And then there is the world we live in today and our “culture of change.” It is fueled by a frenetic pace and a growing appetite for the quick, the rapid and the instant. Change becomes the all-pervasive good or a great evil to be avoided, but either way change is what remains constant. In such a world, there is little room for, much less appreciation of, the virtues of sustained attention.
Eugene Peterson has identified something fundamental about pastoral ministry when he says that paying attention within the community God has placed you is the chief skill needed for good pastoring. Pastors have endless opportunities to be distracted—distracted by new methods, new theologies and new technologies, by better buildings, better positions, better congregations and by more money, more recognition and more responsibilities. Yet in the midst of all of these distractions, you have been a pastor who jealously guarded his eyes and focused his attention exclusively on the work that God has given you and on the people God has placed in your care.
Your desire has been to pay close attention to the Lord Jesus Christ, to follow Him where He has led you so that you could better lead this congregation. For these thirty years, you have paid close attention to the people of Beverly Heights Church, to every child that you held in your hands at baptism, to every person you called by name during communion, to every couple who came to you to be united in marriage as husband and wife and to every grieving spouse whose husband or wife you buried.
For thirty years, you have paid close attention to call us to worship the Lord on each Lord’s Day. You have paid close attention to His word and spoken to us His truth. You have led us in song, led us in prayer, led us in confession, led us in assurance of our pardon and then sent us into the world to proclaim Christ and advance His kingdom.
For thirty years, you have paid close attention to the needs of this congregation and provided expert leadership, in times of difficulty and in times of peace, in times of transition and in times of stability, in times of decline and in times of growth.
For thirty years, you have been our pastor; you have paid close attention to the Lord, to the ministry and to the people. You have consistently spurned the distractions of this world in order to help us all to see the Lord more clearly and so for all these reasons and many more we want to thank you. Thank you for being our pastor, for tending closely to the sheep of this pasture, for loving the Lord and for loving us.
On behalf of the Session and Congregation of Beverly Heights Presbyterian Church,
Leslie Shuttleworth, Clerk of Session
Rev. Dr. Nathanael Devlin, Moderator, pro tem
Posted on Thu, October 15, 2015
by Administrator filed under