2015 has been an exciting year for Messiah.
We have welcomed great new staff people. A call committee worked diligently to find a new associate pastor. Messiah has benefitted from their hard work. I have been amazed at how well Pastor Liz has fit into our congregation and added to our life together already. Messiah has added a new full time Children’s Minister position to build more bridges between our Preschool and the church. Michelle Meifert has joined our staff and her hard work and great ideas have made the transition smoother than I would have imagined. I am excited for the possibilities in 2016 that come from these new opportunities. We added a quarter time position to our staff, Jim Diehm, to assist Pastor Liz with Confirmation and Teen ministry. Jim has been a key volunteer leader in this ministry for years, so it is no surprise he is already invaluable since he has shouldered even more responsibility.
We also said goodbye to some wonderful leaders in 2015. Treasurer Ron Moder resigned after over two decades in that position. He has been a treasure for my ministry and for our congregation. While he is still just a phone call away at his home in Apple Valley, I miss him often. Mike Grimm was only on for a year as the Youth Minister, filling in when Pastor Thadd left. However, he did so well that many called to see if there was any way we could afford to keep him on staff. After seven years as Preschool Director, Pat Hazelwood left that position to pursue other vocational goals. She left Messiah’s preschool better than she found it, Christ centered, financially healthy, near capacity and well respected in our community. Our biggest staff change was also the toughest for me personally. The creation of the full time Children’s Minister position caused the elimination of the existing half time position that had been held by Alicia Keiber for twelve years. Alicia’s passion for our children will be missed. I look forward to the new ways that Alicia finds at Messiah to use her many talents.
2015 saw a lot of hard work by many volunteers to renew our sanctuary. As 2015 closes, the work is nearly done and we look forward to the dedication and celebration on January 31 at 4:30. When the project is completed, barring construction cost overruns it should all be paid for by the money we raised together. Our new Treasurer, Bev Prater, reported just this month that we had received $178,000, which is actually more money than initially pledged. I rejoice at the valuable gift to worship at Messiah for the coming generations that we made in 2015.
Who knows what 2016 will bring? It seems almost sinful to hope to be blessed as richly as we were in 2015, but God is good and God’s grace is abundant so it is only sinful to stop hoping. Finally, I give thanks for the brothers and sisters I have served beside and have been served by in 2015 and for nearly thirteen years. I count this congregation as my blessing, and her people as my family. Peace, Pastor Karl