We have been blessed to have Vicar Dave and Isaiah Keller with us here at Ascension for almost 2 years. Together we say thanks to Vicar Dave for his ministry in our church community and beyond. I personally want to thank him for all his assistance given to our church and to me during the time I have been recovering from my injured shoulder. We all feel we have walked a deep journey with Vicar Dave and Isaiah, especially through the passing to glory of Jeremiah Keller. We pray God’s strength and courage for all the Keller family. (Vicar Dave will be serving an interim congregation at Whitehall, Michigan, this June and July, and interviewing in a number of Michigan churches to receive a permanent call. When that first call is confirmed, he will be ordained. Vicar Dave’s oldest son Elijah is marrying on August 9th.)
I want to thank the Ascension community for walking another journey – the studying of other faiths. It was September 2012 when we started on the series “Honoring our Neighbor’s Faith.” Mitt Romney’s running for the office of U.S. President increased curiosity about Mormons, and that helped to get us underway. We studied many different expressions of Christianity, including the partner church bodies of the ELCA. This past study year we had the series of “The Bible and the Quran”, and then a series on Judaism, and also speakers from the Bahai faith, and Hinduism, and Buddhism, and Sikhism.
Looking back, we could have also had guest speakers from the various Christian denominations, though I did enjoy preparing for and making presentations about them. This journey has helped me to see more clearly what I most treasure and what I am most passionate about. I can better articulate my faith through comparing and contrasting my beliefs with other faith groups. My hope is that we will also be able to better listen to our neighbors, to hear where they are coming from, to respect their faith, and be able to dialog with them about ours. Thanks again for walking this journey of discovery.
And thanks to all who made Holy Week 2014 so moving and memorable. Thanks to all who planned and participated in the Ascension Expo on April 27th. Thanks to our confirmation class for leading worship on May 11th. You can probably gather by now that I am very thankful. And I could list many more things about Ascension. I will do that another time.
Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia.
- Pastor Tim