From the Pastor

March 2015

It is hard to find adequate words to express my deep appreciation for all that was done for me, on my last Sunday, March 1. I am very grateful for the many people who were here, the kind words, and the generous gift given to me.  That gift and the thoughtful one at     Christmas will be a great help in the transition to housing at           Presbyterian Village North where I will be closer to my wife.  So many people helped to make it a special day.  I know that many put in many hours setting up the tables and chairs for the luncheon, making and arranging the table decorations – and then carrying all the tables and chairs back to various classrooms after the luncheon.  Others did  painting and cleaning before the event.  I also want to thank the      Retirement Committee, the Session, and the congregation for all that was done.  And I also want to express appreciation for the renaming of the fellowship hall to “Wilbanks Hall” – such a kind and thoughtful gesture and for the designation as Pastor Emeritus as approved at the Congregational Meeting on February 22.  I also am grateful for the many cards and notes.

As I said in the sermon last Sunday, the observance on March 1 was not just about  me.  It was also about this congregation.  This has been a shared ministry.  And whatever was accomplished in these 47 years we have accomplished together with God’s help.  So many, many people have done so much to help this church during these 47 years.

As mentioned in a Session Highlights article in a previous newsletter, the Worship Committee chaired by Elder Marilyn Saams will be arranging for guest preachers until an Interim Pastor is chosen.  The Interim Pastor Search Committee chaired by Elder Phil Johnson will be interviewing two people suggested by the Committee on Ministry of Grace Presbytery.  The other members of the Search Committee are Elders Duane Moon, John Kusewitt and Dave Edling.  I would        encourage your prayers for both of these committees.  At some point while the Interim Pastor is here, a Pastor Nominating Committee will be elected.  There is an old joke to the effect that it takes Presbyterians a year or two to choose a new pastor, but the Catholics can choose a Pope in two weeks!  It is a rather lengthy process in the Presbyterian Church and one we all need to pray about in regard to the new pastor who will be chosen by the congregation.

I want you to know that Nickie and I will be eternally grateful for these years with you, for the wonderful day on March 1, and the many kind, thoughtful, and generous things people have done.

Tom Wilbanks
January 2015

As most of our members know, most of our boards and committees operate on a three-year rotation system.  A number of faithful officers and committee members finished terms at the end of 2014, and we are grateful to them.  We also appreciate the faithful giving of many of our people during the past year, and we are grateful to those who have made pledges of financial support for the church this year.

It has been a matter of concern that our Sunday School and worship attendance declined last year, an issue facing many main-line Protestant churches, along with other changes taking place such as demographic changes.  We have also struggled some financially, but many good things are happening in our church, and I am grateful to many for their commitment.  I encourage your commitment in this New Year and I look forward to joining you at the Lord’s Table for communion this Sunday.  I can’t think of a better way to begin a New Year.


Tom Wilbanks