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This Sunday will be a HUGE day in my life! It’s OSCAR SUNDAY!!!
I’m kidding. It is Oscar Sunday, and I do love the Academy Awards, but that is not what I am most excited about. The 1st Sunday in March of last year was the first day of my assignment at Imani. So this Sunday will be our first anniversary in ministry together.
And what a year it has been! For me, it was a return to a faith community that was both familiar and new. It was familiar insofar as some of faces were familiar, and the unique and strong spirit of this church was certainly familiar. It was new insofar as most of the faces in the congregation were new to me. Yet, there was an immediate spiritual connection between Imani and me which left no doubt that I was in the right place at the right time - God’s appointed time in the life of the church and in my life.
Imani is absolutely wonderful at welcoming new folks. I have experienced that myself; and I have never witnessed new folks coming into a church and so immediately and seamlessly integrating into its life and culture.
I have taken great pleasure in getting to know the people who comprise this great congregation. You have been so warm and welcoming that it has not been difficult, at all, to feel at home here and to “step into my shoes” as your pastor. I have been full of gratitude to God as I have seen attendance growing over this year. That is always nice!
But, even more important, my heart has rejoiced as I have witnessed the spiritual growth among us over this year. I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than to see people who were not actively participating in our worship services when I arrived stepping up, now, as worship participants and leaders. I also hear the signs of growth and healing in the “Praise Reports and Prayer Requests” segment of our worship. It is inspiring beyond words!
Several years ago, when the call to ministry was an urge I was trying to squash and run from, I attended a revival service at Imani at which Rev. Elder Jeri Ann Harvey was the preacher. We had never met before that night. I went to her for prayer, after her sermon, and I will never forget what she said to me: “You are called to me an MCC clergy person. And we need you. And it will be the best time of your life.”
Since I have been at Imani, I have known that she was right. I am living the best, most fulfilled time of my life right now. Thank you, Imani. Thank you, God.