Greetings, Hayes Barton UMC! Since I have officially transitioned into my new role as your Associate Pastor at HBUMC, I would again like to say “THANK YOU!!” to all of the members and staff at this church that have made me feel so welcomed and loved. Each day, I have felt outpourings of love and grace from you all. It is evident that the Holy Spirit is present and working through you in this place. I can see this in the ways everyone at Hayes Barton worships God with strong faith and assurance and in how each of you offers your spiritual gifts to live in community with one another in this place and in the world. Paul says it best in his letter to the Romans where it is written, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the world” (Romans 1:8). I love the way that Paul begins this letter because he is acknowledging the strong faith of the people to whom he is writing. It is the same with what I have experienced at Hayes Barton thus far: I am thankful to God for you all because of how brightly you show the light of Christ in the world.
I sincerely appreciate how you all have reminded me of the presence of God’s grace in my life and in the world, because this year has been one of many new beginnings and changes in my life. First of all, in March, my wife, Jill, and I found out we would be having our first child. Then in May, I graduated from Duke Divinity School after three years of full-time graduate school. On July 1, I started a new job (Associate Pastor at HBUMC, in case you haven’t heard). And at the end of this month, Jill and I will be moving to a new home in Raleigh, about ten minutes from HBUMC. I suppose that our lives have not been exciting enough yet, so we de-cided to go ahead and experience several major life events in one year! Even with all of these things going on, there is a great sense of joy and excitement on this new adventure be-cause I have felt the guidance and presence of God as I make my way through this season of life. Part of the reason I have found this peace, even though recently life seems very hectic, is because I feel assured that I am on the path that God has laid out for my life.
Often in seasons of change, it can be easy to mourn and grieve what is being left behind. When we move to a new place, we may miss the home in which we spent time with family, friends, and loved ones. Starting a new job translates to new opportunities and challenges, yet we may miss co-workers or being comfortable with the task at hand. And the change from being a single person to then becoming a mother or father results in less independence as another life is brought into the world that now depends on constant attention. Although these changes can be difficult and stressful at times, I have found great joy as I move into this new season of life because of my faith and trust in God.
While I may at times miss a certain place and reminisce of memories in the past, I know from Scripture that God is al- ways doing something new in Creation. There are not many places in Scripture when things stay just as they are for a long period of time. God is frequently taking Creation, as well as the “set in stone” norms and expectations of the world, and moving them forward. It is important to recognize that in each and every change, we find out more about God and the love and grace in which we are created. From the moment that God spoke and saw Creation was good in the book of Genesis, and then throughout all of Scripture, it almost seems as though change is constant. Yet even as things change, and as there is more revealed about who God is, the grace and mercy from God in Jesus Christ remains constant. Therefore, I give thanks that even though my present life, and perhaps yours, may present stress and uncertainty, God is never turning away and always redeeming our lives and sanctifying our faith.
With the assurance that God is always revealing love and grace to us, and knowing that this often comes through in seasons of change, I wonder what new and wonderful thing God is doing at HBUMC? Knowing that God is always moving us to a place where we are called to be the light of Christ in the world, perhaps you as an individual feel a particular calling in your life. Also, I know that there have been several changes over the past few years at HBUMC, and I give thanks that this church was attentive to the calling of God in this place and together you all followed. I am excited and humbled to be a part of the next new and life-giving thing that God will do in this place in order to reveal God to the world and make it on earth as it is in heaven! For this, and for all things, may glory be brought to God!
In peace and love, Adam Charville