It has been a delight to begin meeting y’all this past week as I settle in, unpack books, and learn my way around the office — and around the upstate. I know that you have been working hard this past year — what a great job you have done, keeping this fellowship on an even keel with-out ministerial leadership. And what fun it was to share time with you all on Sunday morning. The beautiful music in such a lovely sanctuary and the warm welcome you gave me and my family were a great beginning. 

As I said in my sermon, we are beginning this new minis-try together – it is not my ministry, but our ministry. So as we enter into relationship together, it will be helpful for all of us to remember that you and I do not know one another yet. It will take time for us to get acquainted, to learn to trust one another, and to learn how to work well together. 

Because it will take some time for us to get to know one another – I thought it would be useful to share a few things that might be helpful to know about me: 

• It is always my intention to listen, to reflect, to ask questions, and to collaborate. I approach most questions and problems from a posture of curiosity. There are a few things that I find non-negotiable, like integrity, safety, kindness, and justice, but for the most part, I’m willing to learn new things and see many points of view. 

• I work hard. I will work hard for and with you. And I will also take my days off, vacation, and study leave. It serves nobody (not me, not you) if I over-work. I am accessible in an emergency, can always be reached multiple ways. But I don’t get my work emails on my phone, and Monday is my day off, and I keep it sacred – I don’t check emails at all. 

• I learned a lot of useful skills in my ministry training. Omniscience was not one of them. If you want me to know something – if you’re sick and need support, or if you are upset about something I said, or if you want me to do something, you have to tell me. 

• I have strong opinions and I’m not afraid to speak my mind – I AM a woman over 40, after all! That said, it is never my intent to be unkind or dismissive of others – if you are hearing something that I’ve said as antagonistic or challenging, let me know, and we’ll talk about it. 

• And finally, (for now) a core value of my ministry is that as a person of faith, I am called to fight injustice and support equity and compassion wherever I can. What this means in practice is that I’m not only thinking about justice and equity when I’m at a protest or action. I do my best to apply those values to my Sunday service planning, to my interactions with staff and congregants, to everything that I do. 

As I’ve said, we’ll have lots of opportunities to get to know one another in the weeks and months to come, and what’s most important to know is that it is a delight to be with you, and I look forward to meeting you all.. 

See you in church