I didn’t watch the State of the Union address last night. This is sort of a big deal for me. In college I hung out with the kinds of ladies who hosted SOTU watch parties and joked about Ted Kennedy hosting a party every year afterward. (We used to just call the whole night the “Kegger at Ted’s.) I couldn’t watch it. I just couldn’t. I couldn’t watch the clapping on one side the stone faces on the other. I couldn’t stand to hear one more “immigrants are murders” jab that is just soft enough no one has to own what they say. I don’t want to think of politics as a zero sum game where if I am winning the other side is losing. I love people on the other side too.
So instead, I sent emails and made phone calls. I sent a text message about what should be played in church on Sunday and I started writing my very first sermon for my very first church appointment. In the midst of a political scene that feels chaotic and scary, God and my district superintendent were quietly ordering my next steps in ministry.
The name of the church is New Hope, and I feel like a proud mother showing off pictures of the beautiful building and telling the stories of the kind people I have already met. I am dreaming with the community that also loves this place about what the future may look like. What might New Hope look like in this world?
At the beginning of my seminary journey, when I thought I was going to be a youth pastor, God whispered to me that I was being prepared for a new thing, a thing that hadn’t been tried before, and here I am on the front edge of a missional partner church. I get to still be on staff at the church I have grown so much in and am so supported in, and I get to preach every week at New Hope and together we all get to figure out what this partnership might look like. I am a really bad loan wolf, but now I get to keep my pack and be a pastor to a church and we all get to live through new ways of doing things. We all get to figure out what God’s New Hope is together.
There are so many things I am excited about, so many things we are beginning to dream about, so much to learn. So many ways this feels like the very right next step for me. I had no idea this was a possibility until it was handed to me. No we don’t know exactly what a New Hope might look like, but we know it is God’s and we know we are grateful for it. This world needs a little more New Hope in the world.
Sunday is my first sermon. We meet at 11. All are welcome. I sure would appreciate your prayers.
Congratulations!! That’s so exciting! Best of luck with this sermon and all those to come. I will definitely be praying.
You have mine- always have and always will. I am so proud of you and so excited.
The New Hope news is so exciting, Abby (although somewhere there’s a Star Wars joke here, but I’m not clever enough to make it); I hope it is going well! I had the same experience with the SOTU this year, too, after the same life history of never missing it. What I did was intentionally go to see “Darkest Hour”, the Winston Churchill film, instead. So I got to be inspired by a truly great leader who lived out his “for such a time as this moment” by yes, speaking hard truth to his old white guys’ club that they didn’t all want to hear….but in pursuit of ACTUAL righteousness and justice in the face of ACTUAL evil, not made-up evil. I highly recommend it.