Let me say once again that is has been an honor, a privilege and a blessing to serve as pastor of Faith UCC in New Braunfels these last 15 years. Thank you very much for all your cards, kind words, gifts and well wishes over Christmas and for my retirement! I would like to thank all those who made my retirement send off possible. Doing this over zoom and not in person complicated all of this. I love the memory book! A great deal of work went into it. What a surprise to see letters and cards not only from the members of Faith UCC but also former conference ministers and even my Old Testament professor from seminary! I would also like to thank the church for the very generous check. Once we are able to travel again I will put that to good use and will think of you all and remember the many years we have journeyed together here at Faith UCC.
I wish Faith UCC and each of you individually all the best as our paths diverge for awhile. May God be with you.
After thoughtful and prayerful consideration, it is with great pride and much anticipation that I, on behalf of the Interim Pastor Committee and the Church Council, announce the selection of our church’s Designated Term Pastor — Rev. Dr. Carla Cheatham. Rev. Cheatham was one of three applicants for the position and was unanimously approved by both the Committee and the Council. Rev. Cheatham comes to us with many unique qualities and gifts that I am sure will serve us well starting January 1, 2021.
A word about Designated Term vs. Interim Pastor. We consulted regularly with our Interim Conference Minister, Campbell Lovett, and he was helpful in describing the pros and cons of each expression of ministry. We chose Rev. Cheatham as Designated Term Pastor for Faith UCC in part because, while an Interim Pastor cannot be considered for the Settled Pastor position, in certain circumstances, such as the ones we face now at Faith, a Designated Term Pastor can be considered for that position. A designated term pastor also has additional specific goals and objectives than an interim pastor, and we believe the goals that focus on community engagement and membership growth will better serve our church. Carla is well-suited to help us realize our goals. Thus, we would like to keep our options open about a settled position. For instance, we all agree that we would not be well served if, after 12 months of Carla’s help and guidance to grow and revitalize, we started over again with a new pastor and began another pastoral transition. The Pastoral Search Committee will meet in early 2021 to update the Local Church Profile and perform other assignments typical to the Search and Call process. When the time comes, this committee with input from Rev. Cheatham, will determine if she will be considered for the settled position or if the position will be posted. We will be looking for one or two members to fill vacancies on the committee.
Rev. Cheatham made a short video of introduction to our church, that I have included in this letter. Please take a moment to watch. We hope you will be as impressed with her ideas and plans for Faith UCC as the committee was when we first viewed it.
We are grateful to Pastor Scott for his ministry that has created such a strong base for our church. We are thankful to congregation members for your commitment to Faith. We look forward to building upon all this positive momentum as we prepare to enter a New Year!
Pastor Scott will be in Florida from Monday November 16th to Friday, November 27th. Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving!
Hanging of the Greens Service Sunday, November 29th
On Sunday, November 29th we will hold our annual Hanging of the Greens service in the sanctuary. This also marks the first Sunday of Advent.
First recognized in 1988, World AIDS Day falls on December 1 each year. World AIDS Day is dedicated to spreading awareness of the AIDS pandemic spread by the spread of HIV infection, and to mourning those who have died of the disease. An estimated 40 million people worldwide have died of AIDS since 1981, and an estimated 37 million are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history. Despite recent improvements in treatment, the AIDS epidemic still claims an estimated two million lives each year, of which more than 250,000 are children.
writing this to let you all know that I have decided to retire at the end of
this year 2020. My last Sunday will be December 27, 2020. For the last year or
so I’ve watched seminary classmates announce their retirements one after
another. It is time for me to move on to the next phase of my life’s journey
and for Faith UCC to move on to its next phase as well, trusting that we are
all in God’s hands.
been my great honor and a true blessing to serve Faith UCC for what will be 15
years. I have served four churches since graduating from seminary and Faith UCC
has been by far the best of the four.
last 15 years Faith UCC has been a faithful, progressive witness here in New
Braunfels. As I look back there are so many highlights. Here are just a few.
Voting to become ONA and the choir singing twice at the SA Pride event were
milestones in the life of this church… In the area of mission and outreach:
giving away our Christmas offerings to a whole series of mission projects near
and far; starting LEAP; our continuing work at the SOS Food Bank and being a
host church for Family Promise. In the area of building and grounds we
refurbished the fellowship hall and narthex and installed the computer
projector and updated AV. Developing the vision statement and becoming a more
diverse congregation. Marching in the local MLK march and other witness
events. Then there are all the confirmation classes, adult study programs
during Lent and the recent class on Buddhism & Hinduism. We have shared many
deeply moving worship experiences in the over 725 services that I have been
here for. We’ve often sensed the movement of the Spirit in these. We have
shared much in worship, mission and fellowship and I cherish all our time
church moves forward it will be a time for discernment and prayer about the
future of the church. As with any change there will be some anxiety and
sadness, but I pray that there will also be a sense of excitement and
hopefulness about what God has in store for Faith Church. Faith Church has gone
through such times of transition numerous times since it was founded in 1966.
As in the past, with God’s help, it will do so again. It has always come
through such times stronger and with a renewed sense of purpose. It has gone on
to do God’s work here in New Braunfels and beyond in new and creative ways.
that you most certainly will have my prayers for you individually and for Faith
Church as a whole. I would invite your prayers for me as well as I transition
to retirement. I am mindful of Paul’s words to the Philippians… “I
thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying for all of you,
because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am
confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it
to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:3-6)