Dear Church,

I want to begin by quoting the great theologian (that’s a joke) Alice Cooper; “School’s out for summer!” I think it’s appropriate that I use his lyrics since he and his wife worshiped with us on Sunday morning just a few weeks ago. It is hard to believe, but the summer is here. Swim leagues have kicked off and summer camps are just around the corner. Over the next two months the pace of life around our church slows down a bit. My hope for you is that these summer months will be a time to relax and refresh. I hope that you are able to spend time with friends and family. I am also hopeful that during the slower pace of the summer you will be able to spend extra time thinking about who you are as a follower of Jesus Christ. I plan on thinking about it, not only in my individual life but also in the life of our church. When our identity is rooted in Jesus Christ, then we grow together in ways we could never imagine on our own. You might even hear a sermon or two about these ideas over the upcoming months.

We have a few special things happening in our life together this week. On Sunday we will share in Holy Communion. These Sundays are some of my favorite times of the year. Not only is the Lord’s Supper when we show our oneness by all sharing from one loaf and cup, but we also take time to remember the love of God made known to us through Jesus’ body broken and his blood poured out. I hope that you will be in worship on Sunday.

This Sunday will also be the first Sunday for our new Minister of Contemporary Worship and Worship Technology, Dan Gaudinier. I have spoken about him at length in previous First Thoughts in case you need an introduction to Dan and his family. I am incredibly excited to have Dan as a part of our church and I know that you will show him great love this Sunday morning!

Finally, on this long weekend we celebrate Memorial Day. As a Baptist, I know that the church is at its best when we firmly and clearly separate Church and State. With that being said, as people of faith, we also give thanks to God that we have the amazing privilege of being American citizens. We are free to express our faith in any way we see fit, which is a gift that we should never take for granted. This freedom, so essential to who we are as Americans, has come with great cost. We honor those who have given their lives so that we might live in peace here in the United States of America. I am grateful. I know that you are as well.

Peace, Will