February, 2019 Dear Siloa Church,
As most of you already know, I have announced my retirement, and Sunday, February 24th, will be my final Sunday as your pastor. This means saying good bye, and saying good bye is not, and will not, be easy. I have genuinely enjoyed my time among you. You have welcomed and have included Nancy and me as part of your family and part of your community, and we will always treasure our "membership" and our belonging at Siloa. In many times and in many places, I hope you have heard my sincere expressions of gratitude and thankfulness for your love and support and friendship and prayers over these past years. Thank you. Thank you! I cannot say it enough.
As I mentioned before, it will be important for me to stay away from Siloa for some time to allow a healthy transition to new pastoral leadership. I do hope that we can establish a friendship that will endure in the years ahead, and we will have to see just how that might unfold.
It is possible that Siloa's membership could grow in the years ahead, but it is not likely. Our history, and the current trends and circumstances around us suggest that the church and its many congregations will be in a period of transition and transformation for many years to come. Together, the congregations of the church will have to wrestle with how to establish new forms and new ministries in order to adapt and thrive in new ways in the future. God is on the move and intends to accompany us into that future. We are invited to partner with God in that adventure.
That said, and understood, Siloa is a strong and vibrant congregation with the gifts and resources it needs to be a place of community, love, healing, and the proclamation of Gospel-good-news for many, many years to come. You will need to be flexible and creative, strategic and patient. Today, there are many people who would love to be a part of the Siloa community, if they knew about Siloa, and if they knew that they would be welcomed here. Let them know, and show them. All along the way, support each other, listen to each other, forgive and encourage each other. Everyone is precious and needed and has a part to play in the work you all do together.
Paul's words in his first letter to the Corinthians puts it well:
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Great advice. Good counsel. Keep this faith, with hope and endurance.
Peace, Pastor Dan Olson