The following is a written version of “the welcome” I offered to Jesse Lund on the occasion of his installation as the Executive Pastor of San Clemente Presbyterian Church. Although it was intended for that moment, I believe it also speaks to the important role we play in each other’s lives as friends in a presbytery and, indeed, as we persevere through this difficult time in history.
“Mutuality in Relationship”
The other day I asked Forrest Claassen, our Stated Clerk, how I was supposed to welcome a minister who is the president of our presbytery’s corporation, the moderator of our Trustees, and someone who has been serving the presbytery sacrificially for many years.
Forrest said, “The welcome is the time in the service that everyone hugs each other and shakes hands because the presbytery has welcomed the minister to their new role.”
Well, I don’t think we are going to be doing that today for obvious reasons, but, Jesse, please know that there are hundreds if not thousands of virtual hugs being extended to you right now, all over this presbytery and most likely all over the world.
Gotta Love the Book of Order
Forrest wouldn’t be such a great Stated Clerk if he didn’t also give me advice from the Book of Order. He emailed me a section that said, “The presbytery may be invited to charge the newly installed and the congregation to faithfulness in ministry and mutuality in relationship.” I love that phrase. It is such a Book of Order phrase, isn’t it? “Mutuality in relationship.”
An “Organic Whole”
If there is one thing we are all learning from this global pandemic is “mutuality in relationship.” What each of does and doesn’t do, what each of us gives and doesn’t give, what each of us withholds and doesn’t withhold, affects everyone else.
My life, and maybe even my death, is bound up in yours and yours is bound up in mine. And that is true of the vitality of the Church. We are an organic whole, and no one can say where one congregation’s vitality ends and the other begins.
Jesse, in the hundreds of emails that you and I have exchanged over the years, I know how careful you are to be an equipper of the saints and to build up the Body of Christ, not merely in one congregation of a presbytery, but throughout the whole body.
Today, as always, I’m honored to be numbered among your siblings in ministry, so I want to welcome you to this work, now in San Clemente, the southernmost expression of the Presbytery of Los Ranchos in the PC(USA). Even as I welcome you, we all are honored to bless you as you begin your new service here.
May your ministry be deeply satisfying and bring glory to God and to our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.