To My Dearest St. John’s Family,
As I sit down to write this letter my office is feeling a bit emptier and walls a bit more bare, and yet my heart is full to the point of overflowing. So many beautiful things have happened in our last five years together. Personally, Michael and I have joined our lives together and welcomed our precious Moses. Thank you for all the ways you have made this place home for our family and loved us. We will treasure this place as our family’s first faith community in ways I can hardly put into words.
And so many things have happened in ministry – a new building. Not just brick and mortar, but a space that has welcomed over 200 for Vacation Bible school since it’s opening. A place where young people are gathered and nourished and then sent – like the 43 that went to Guatemala this summer. LifeGroups have formed and provided a place to experience authentic community. A GIFT has been opened as women from our community have been gathering together and serving.
Perhaps what I have treasured most is the journey to become your pastor. There is no greater honor than getting to be part of God’s work in this place as one of your pastors. Thank you for raising me up. Thank you for sharing Sunday mornings with me – worshiping together and wrestling with the Word of God. Thank you for sharing your stories and inviting me into sacred moments. I said to Michael just last night, “I did not know I could love a group of people so much.” Thanks be to God.
Michael and I wanted to leave a gift with you as we begin a new season. We wanted to honor the many ways we have “been on the road” together. From beach retreats, wild women, congregational retreats, mission trips and more, we have been uniquely shaped by these gatherings around the country – and world. We leave with the congregation a retreat worship box – with pottery communion ware and baptismal bowl. As St. John’s members, young and old, gather around it we hope that they feel the sustaining power of God. We pray that bread and wine serve as “medicine for your soul” (Ireneaus). We pray that as the baptismal waters touch your head for the first time or once again that those waters remind you that you are a precious child of God dearly and deeply loved.
Thank you for it all. To God be the Glory.
God’s Love and Mine,
Pastor Danielle DeNise