Sunday was a glorious day! Though it was stormy, we had a bright celebration of 4 good years of ministry together. As I said to you then, these four years have been among the most important years of my life. You have seen me through some difficult personal experiences. We have walked through a pandemic together. We’ve lived through staff changes, building changes (like the BEAUTIFUL renovation of the Family Life Center!), a new mission statement, and so much more. The world has changed in this short time. Through it all, we have kept ourselves focused on the call of God to serve our community together. It is one of the many reasons I have been so honored to be your pastor. I take you in my heart with me as I go. The laughs we have shared in just about every meeting of any sort that we have had in my tenure here have uplifted me and will be lodged in my memory. I treasure the conversations we have had about your faith, how you have grown and changed, your questions and doubts. I am humbled to have shared some of the most difficult and important moments of your lives and will always be grateful that you have let me into those moments. I have learned immeasurable lessons and wisdom from you and have admired and been inspired by the way you have shared your faith with me, with each other, and with our community. Thank you for loving my family. Joy has grown so much in our time here—both in inches and in faith. Her experience in children’s, youth, music, and acolyte ministry here have really shaped her spiritual life. Listening to her thoughts and questions make my heart full of gratitude for the ways you have mentored and supported her. I am so glad she’s been able to grow with you and learn from you. And thank you for caring for my rarely-seen husband, Dave. He shares his gratitude for you and with you for these four years of getting to chat with you on occasion, lead a men’s small group for a short time, even to be in worship a time or two. You’ve always welcomed him graciously, and I am grateful for that. Don’t stop being who you are—a congregation whose mission is to welcome all into a nurturing community of faith, to serve others, and to grow in Christ. Regardless of what comes in the denomination or the world at large, always be the loving, wise, fun, creative, challenging, and deeply thoughtful people you are. I am a better pastor for having known and loved you. You will always be in my prayers and in my heart. There will be a period of time when we will refrain from calls and emails so that I will have space for the folks of Simpsonwood to get to know me and I, them, and you will have space to get to know Jordan. After a while, when we run into each other or think of each other and reach out, we will be able to enjoy friendship as you will have developed a new pastoral relationship with your new pastor. Please know I’ll be praying for you and him without ceasing. I will never forget my four years with you at Embry Hills UMC. It’s been good. It’s been very good, and I’m deeply thankful. Oh, and don’t forget: bear witness to the love of God in this world, so that those to whom love is a stranger will find in you generous friends. Live your lives knowing the peace of Christ who has redeemed you. And always enjoy the companionship of the Holy Spirit who is with you, now and forever. May it be! Until we meet again, Susan
Coming soon in Sunday worship:
- June 27: The Rev. Blair Zant preaching. Blair is the director of the Center for Congregational Excellence for the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. She travels throughout north Georgia preaching, teaching, training, and supporting local congregations as they seek new ways to make new places for new people in the Body of Christ. You won’t want to miss this special Sunday!
- July 4: “The Fullertons”. Rev. Lee Fullerton and Rachel Fullerton (our Lay Leader) will co-preach the sermon as they share their perspectives on the present and future of the church. Come be inspired by this special Father-Daughter team!
- July 11: Welcoming Dr. Jordan Thrasher and his family to Embry Hills! Don’t miss Jordan’s first Sunday as pastor and the chance to meet Meredith and their three girls: Georgia, Elizabeth, and Anna. We’ll have Three Tikis here (similar to Kona Ice) to enjoy outside in the parking lot from noon-2 pm.