Every now and then, I will glance back over my shoulder and look back at my life. Several nights ago as I sat out on the back deck of the parsonage, I glanced back at our first six months together.
Of course there were the twists and turns associated with all the issues with the parsonage, but we made it through those twists and turns with the help of Alan Wilson and the Trustees, Jim Lundy and the Staff Parish Committee, and the prayers of many of you.
In my glancing back, what I saw more than anything else is a wonderful welcoming congregation. June and I are humbled by the way we have been received, and we have been blown away by all the ways you have expressed your love for us.
I cannot thank the staff enough for all their support and guidance over this time. Kingswood is blessed with an unbelievably dedicated and talented staff. It is a pleasure to work alongside them on a daily basis.
Last but certainly not least, it has been such a pleasure to work with the 2015 lay leadership team and executive council. This group has done a fantastic job over their time in leadership. The laity at Kingswood is a remarkable bunch. As I glance back, I also see things that continue to warm my heart.
An area of apprehension for me before I arrived at Kingswood was worship. My worship background has always been rigidly traditional. However, I have found worship at Kingswood to be a wonderful time. It truly is a joy for me to be part of such a special worship experience. It is great to see the increasing numbers in worship each week — both members and visitors alike. With the number of new faces, it’s a great time for us to have a class to allow new and prospective members to learn more about Kingswood. I look forward to leading my first KUMC 101 class next week and invite all of our new and recent members to join me.
One of the highlights of each day is welcoming children and parents to The Kingswood School. It has been a blessing to be greeted each morning by their smiles. I am grateful to Michelle Wicklund, Allen Baston, Dennis Lewallen, Amanda Hickey, and Elizabeth Ramey for all they do to build a stronger connection between the Church, and the students, parents and school staff.
In these months, I marveled as the entire church got involved in our Capture The Prize TOGETHER Campaign. We all prayed our way through it, and in the process God did what only God could do. As a result, the capital campaign raised three-year pledges of $1,126,000, exceeding everyone’s expectations. Additionally, the campaign raised $620,000 in pledges to underwrite the ministry and mission of the church — a $70,000 increase year-over-year. The success of the overall campaign allowed for a significant increase in our budget for the first time in a number of years. It has also allowed us to go ahead and purchase our much-needed new bus. Praise God, Praise God, Praise God!
Advent and Christmas at Kingswood has been a wonderful season, with highlight events such as the Advent celebration, caroling, children’s music program and the worship arts special service. Our Christmas Eve service was big hit with over 440 in attendance on a night with threatening weather!
All of these highlights have given Kingswood a renewed momentum as we move into 2016. As we look forward, I ask you to continue to pray for Kingswood. We have a very capable staff and slate of officers, committees, volunteers, teachers and leaders for 2016. Collectively, we need your prayers and support as we all strive to do and be all God would have us to do and be.
May we all better strive to communicate Christ and enable people to connect to Christ and to each other.
communicate . CHRIST . connect