Harvest Time

On Sunday, July 7, we will celebrate our last worship service as pastor and congregation.  The appointed reading in the lectionary cycle for that Sunday comes from the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10.  It is a fitting message for this moment.  Jesus commissions seventy-two disciples and sends them out to share the Gospel in new places.  He warns them that it will be challenging, and he also reassures them: “the harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers.”  After their journeys, the seventy-two return joyously, filled with hope at their success in sharing the Good News.

Entering into a time without a leader can be daunting, whether it is because the leader leaves (as in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter 1) or because the people are sent.  I am certainly not claiming to be Jesus as I leave you!  But it is helpful to remember that, as long as we remain dependent on any particular leader or teacher, we too easily become comfortable in our supporting roles.  Times of transition shake us up, and challenge us to reconsider the ministry to which every one of us is called through our baptisms into discipleship.  Jesus promised a harvest beyond our wildest dreams.

Do we still have faith in that promise?  We can see churches across the country declining and even closing, as if the harvest were dried up.  But I believe the key is in the second part of what Jesus said: there are few workers.  We’ve settled into expectations that the pastor and a small number of leaders will do the harvesting, while everyone else reaps the benefits.  But this isn’t what Jesus imagined.  If we want to see our churches full of life again, it doesn’t all depend on a pastor.  Hear this time of transition as a call to you: the harvest is plentiful!  Now is the time for the workers to answer the call.

May the Peace of Christ be with you always,

Pastor Rachael

 

A Note From Pastor Sara Jane

Dear Good People of St. James,

Holy Week and Easter Sunday are behind us, Pastor Rachael has a beautiful baby girl, and Confirmation will be here on May 19th! By the time you read this there will be only two more Sundays in Eastertide. On May 5th the sermon will be “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors….” and on Mother’s Day, May 12th, we will ponder the opening line of the “Abba prayer”…….”Our Father, who art in heaven…..” These two months have flown by and I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting you all. It was a blessing to be part of your community of faith and to be “back home” for this brief time of supply. May God continue to bless your individual lives and your life together as a church.

With faith, hope, and love, “Pastor” Sara Jane

A Greeting From Pastor Sara Jane Munshower

Dear People of St. James, Limerick, PA!

One of my favorite songs is “’Tis a Gift to be Simple.” Being invited to be your supply pastor while Pastor Rachael is on maternity leave feels like one of those “turning, turning ‘til we come ‘round right” experiences that appear along the way when we are open to them. I can think of no better time to “supply” than this one… watching and waiting with a young pastor for the new life that she carries. I count it as a privilege to be with a congregation who is looking forward, not only with their pastor, but within themselves, to ways of being church in the 21st Century.

It was good to be with you in worship on February 10th and I am eager to begin with you on March 17th. As some of you know, I am a graduate of Spring Ford (’66), Kutztown State (’70), and Andover Newtown Theological School (1999). My ministry path has been a long one…from active lay person in First Church of Christ, Congregational (Glastonbury, CT), to a few courses at Hartford Seminary, to a CE position in a mid-sized congregation, to seminary and a 25-hour per week position as Parish Visitor in our home church (very large). I was among the generation of students who commuted for long years while juggling family and working. Now, I am glad to say, we are seeing more young people in our theological schools.

I grew up in Oaks and my husband in Phoenixville. We moved to CT in 1973 and worked for The Travelers (Bruce still does). We have a son and a daughter who live in Baltimore and Lake George, NY, respectively. My first church was in Tolland, CT where I served as an associate for three years. Since then, I have been kept busy as an intentional interim/transitional pastor, often as an associate, but also as the pastor with St. Paul’s, Kutztown in 2003-2004. Currently, I enjoy supplying for sabbatical and medical leaves. I also have a growing practice as a spiritual companion/director. My preparation for that was completed in a program with Oasis Ministries which is based in Camp Hill (see http://www.oasismin.org). I also serve on their Board of Directors and will be somewhat occupied with them during the two months I am with you.

While in PA, I will be staying with a pastor-friend in Orwigsburg. Occasionally I will stay with family or friends closer to Limerick. My cell phone will be on to take emergency calls. I hope to be keeping a few “office hours” on most, but not all, Thursdays. Please feel free to email me at revsaja@att.net to introduce yourselves, ask questions, and/or to share your thoughts and prayers. I pray we will be blessings to each other in our brief time together through Holy week and the Easter season!

With faith, hope, and love,
Sara Jane Munshower