As I am sure you can imagine.. it has been quite a weird & challenging couple or three months for me.  Six months ago I was wandering blissfully along quite content to be the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church Estevan – with no clue that that would likely change any time soon.  That was until.. until.. “one ringy dingy”.. came the phone call from the Bishop’s office letting me know the rollercoaster was about to begin!?!  And then suddenly I was saying “good bye” to people I had served with deep care (mutual) for more than half of the last 27 yrs.  AND.. just as suddenly I was saying “Hello” to a whole new batch of folks at Bread of Life Lutheran Ch. Regina.  (Which to say I am still grieving AND still very joyed to be here!)

                Among the many things I have had to learn & re-learn as a pastor who has had to ride said roller-coaster before is that as busy & crazy as these months can get, it is incredibly critical to make sure you do an intentionally good job of both the “good-bye” AND “the hello”.. that you make sure the ending gives everyone a healthy sense of completion & closure AND that you make yourself ready to meet the new beginning with a proper & just as intentional excitement for what is now newly possible!!!

                In the church this week is all about “the ending” AND “the beginning”.  For once again the calendar of the liturgical year has turned.. it is our NEW YEAR’S EVE.  Christ the King Sunday/Reign of God Sunday (Nov 26) is the last Sunday of our year – with its challenge for us to think again about what it means to truly let God’s love RULE who we are & how we live. (A time to look back at the months we’ve walked thru to celebrate the ups & confess the downs.)

                The next Sunday is thus then.. our New Year’s Day.. Advent 1.. the beginning of another year of walking with Jesus through His story.. another year of letting that story infect our hearts with grace & with the exuberance of hope made alive.  It is, “hope-fully”  a time to open ourselves, shed the weights of past worries & past oops’s (“sins”), and to make room for the new story of grace & life that will be the year ahead.

                It is my prayer that you will make a good end of it.. be honest & be hopeful.  Even as you also make a good beginning.. striding forth with joy & bold confidence in the God who guides you.


-- Pastor Stewart, Nov 21/17