I went to Rothesay Vineyard, the church I left in April, on invite this morning to witness the induction of my successor, Jon Hallewell. You can read some of the backstory here
I was nervous going because I hadn't been back in almost 7 months. In fact, I haven't been to any church in 7 months. However, once we were there for a few minutes I was fine.
I was pleasantly surprised. The atmosphere at that church has dramatically changed. I'm not sure anyone there would notice it because sometimes gradual change is imperceptible. But it isn't the same place. My last season there was a difficult one and the air was filled with a negativity that we just couldn't seem to shake. We could blame the persistent reverberations of a traumatic split over 12 years ago. We could blame the church's ability to draw fire because of its uniqueness. We could blame me for thinking outside of the box and disturbing the faith of many, both inside and outside of Rothesay Vineyard.
This morning I felt that negativity was gone. Or, rather, I felt that the culture for that negativity to nourish itself was gone. I don't think negativity can last there anymore. I'm so happy about that because Rothesay VIneyard always deserved better.
Afterward I told Jon, my good friend and the new and improved pastor, that Jesus had said, "Be faithful in little, and you will be made faithful in much.
" I told him that the ramifications of our tiny steps of obedience are often hidden from us. There's no way we could have predicted that his tiny steps of obedience would lead to this wonderful development this morning. Keep faithful in the little things and entrust the big things.
What happened today made me realize too that my step to suddenly walk away when I did was perhaps my tiny step of obedience. (You can read my farewell speech here.
) I have no idea what the ramifications of that step are for me.
But I certainly do see what the ramifications are for Rothesay Vineyard. And they are good. Very good.
you may purchase the original of the above image "Moon Mist Trees" (charcoal on Strathmore watercolor cotton-rag paper, 20"x30", here
. click on the image to enlarge it. thank you.