Dear Friends and Missionaries of the newly partnered Crossroads and St. Paul’s communities,
Grace and peace to you in this amazing season where we celebrate the amazing new thing God did through the Christ child in Bethlehem. And now we celebrate the amazing new thing God is about to do through two church communities in Amherst NY.
First, I want to thank you for voting for this partnered vision where we will clearly be able to do more together in our community to further the good news of Jesus. I know for many of you this was a big, risky step and I appreciate your trust and faith in God’s Holy Spirit to lead us all forward.
Second, I’m sure if you’re like me or like maybe Mary and Joseph in the stable post arrival, you’re looking at one another and saying: Now what?? What are the next steps as we move into the reality of this partnership? How will it affect the dailyness of my church life? (For new Crossroads readers, I often just make up words when I write) Well, hopefully in the paragraphs ahead, I can answer some of those questions for you. But, if by chance I don’t, please don’t hesitate to contact me via email, cell or smoke signal to talk or set up conversation to go deeper into your questions.
Both Councils met in December and are working on steps for both individual church issues and partnership issues. In late January, we will be forming an Executive Leadership Team. This group will be made up of the Executive Teams (officers) of both church councils. They will meet every other month to work on the vision of this partnership and the strategic initiatives to move us forward. They will then share those strategies and ideas with the individual church councils which will make final decisions, votes and work on the tangible ways we move the mission forward at each campus. Our joint staffs have now met together as “One Staff” and will be doing so moving forward to pray, plan and communicate together.
A Call Committee has been formed at Crossroads to complete the search for the second pastor who will serve as co-pastors with me, leading the Crossroads Campus. I have been in touch with the Dean and Bishop, and because we have created a clear and specific job description and areas of responsibility, we all feel this will be very attractive to candidates and enable us to meet our August 1 start time. I have already been in touch with a couple people myself who are very interested. Expect to hear more from the Call Committee in the early spring.
Worship life will continue as it has been. Nothing will change with service times or styles until our next pastor comes on board. As we already have been doing, we will join together for some worship opportunities during Lent, Holy Week and of course, the church picnic (which we are hoping will be July 28 this summer!)
Since about 20 minutes after the votes, we have been able to launch forward with the Tiger’s Den Family Support Center at the Crossroads Campus. Neal Nesselbeck (lead engineer at Crossroads) and I have met with several rounds of school officials and some construction pros from St. Paul’s to see how we can most efficiently and effectively improve the 2nd floor space to create the nicest space in all the land! I’ll be applying to the Wendt Foundation to ask for their financial help to make this happen. Expect to see “the upstairs elves” hard at work cleaning out the space and getting it ready for renovations. (Anyone have a need for a large, well used, yellow leather sofa??)
Katie Santillo will be taking over for Jane Lasher in the Crossroads office on January 2nd. She will be at the St. Paul’s Campus Monday/Wednesday and Crossroads Tuesday/Thursday. Adrienne Leary will be at St. Paul’s Tuesday/Thursday/Friday and we will have other volunteers serving at Crossroads during the week. More on that soon.
I hope that’s not too much information. I’m very thankful for the staffs and leaders at both churches who have worked extra hard throughout this process and are doing an excellent job of leading, loving and learning as we go. I have no doubt that what Jeremiah told the people is true: "Surely God has a plan for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a future with hope.” Let’s get ready to live into that future together!
Genesis 50:1 - Exodus 2:10