Message from the Minister


Minister's Report 2014

Dear friends of Castleton and Grafton

In last yearís report I was saying goodbye, because you were in search mode and were in the process of interviewing, so I just assumed Iíd be somewhere else by now. But life has a way or God has a way, and 2014 has evolved as it did in any case, such that I have much to be thankful for to walk this journey with you, in part because I think you have much in your church to be thankful for too.  I would never have dreamed that 2014 would have turned out as it has.

 We knew Dale had significant health issues, but I didnít anticipate she would need to retire so soon let alone Rod develop health issues too. There were other health and indeed grief issues of the year that kind of came out of nowhere catching us off guard, but having a community of faith makes such difference in moving forward. We had been moved that young Jeff would come to be with us after his tragedy and then to lose him was a significant shock. And to lose long term part of our fabric members like Shirley Johnston and Jean Day, much affects who we are.

Most churches we know are having a struggle, and of course we wonder about our future too, but this year has been quite a roller coaster of doings. Becoming Affirming was substantial enough, to say that we care about our community and that we welcome anyone, but then to move beyond that and to sponsor a refugee family surprised us that it would actually happen so soon. You people are to be hugely congratulated for your forward thinking, your financial support and for all the person hours you have put into this. Iíve never been with a church that has had the media publicity youíve had this year.

It has not been a simple run, with itís heartache but also joy, and that balance will no doubt continue to some degree as we fill out our commitment, and our passion to do something significant.

We welcome newcomers who are making our churches home and I appreciate those who go out of their way to be welcoming.

 We are thankful that Katherine Berry happened on our scene and has agreed to be minister of music, and the ever present Shasta is no doubt the glue that holds it all together.

The positive attitude I run into I celebrate. The party line is that the church as a whole is dying and maybe it is. Over the millenniums religions have sprung up and fallen away while others have taken their place, and none of us really knows.  But in the meantime as I said at Presbytery, I donít know personally how long Iíll be around either, but in the meantime I plan on living and giving it my best shot. So here too I celebrate that I donít hear a lot of fearful rumbling but mostly the enjoyment of community.

Nevertheless at Castleton particularly, this could be a mix of a year. A celebration of 150 years, and at the same time roof shingles that need replacing after only 7 years.

2015 is a kind of clean slate; we do not know what challenges it hold or joys, what losses or gains, what new experiences or more of the same. But we do know that we have a positive community of faith that connects to a God whom we perceive walks with us. I look forward to the walk together with you. God Bless

God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; 

courage to change the things we can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Rev. David Lander



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