Blessings come in ALL shapes and sizes! It is both a joy and a concern that my body size has changed some over the last 10 years, but five years ago it was ALL joy as my heart was expanded exponentially with the approved appointment of Reverend Andy Oren to our staff. The opportunity to welcome Andy, ‘back home’ to practice his particular gifts of connecting people and resources along with his passion for justice and equality have increased my heart and the heart of this congregation. Our capacity for hospitality and compassionate ministry continues to grow and practicing service in our church, in our neighborhood and among our community partners has invigorated willing hearts and hands to come together to meet a need whenever it emerges.
Andy and I often kid between us about our very different heights and body size but we are exactly the same when it comes to the size of our hearts’ love for this body of Christ.
A co-pastor (Andy’s ministry was too ‘large’ for him to be the associate pastor in my eyes!) can be a huge risk, not only for ministry vision, but for ego compatibility in the division of duties. Andy and I began together only committed to leading a healthy ministry here, and out of that the Holy Spirit guided our living into it through these 5 years of shared ministry together. We’ve lead with trust and a willingness to collaborate. That is rare. Our colleagues have admired our ease together and our church (ALL of you) have affirmed us at every turn. We grew together as colleagues, and deeper as friends. We’ve played a lot of tennis and we’ve shared many meals and cups of coffee in conversation, always starting with prayer. Through the ending of my marriage and Julie’s retirement we have supported each other in our personal lives as well and we are continuing that commitment beyond this shared appointment for all the days to come.
Thank you, Andy, for being my colleague and my friend. Thank you for your fearless resolve for justice and your tender pastoral presence. Thank you for your willingness to laugh with me (and at me) and your ability to tell a great story. Thank you for saying yes all those years ago to God’s call and for saying yes to being my partner in ministry here at Bay View UMC. Thank you, Andy, for being you! May God bless you BIG in every role and in every day that is to come.
Peace be with each of you. Pastor Kelly