Blessed to be a Blessing

Tuesday night the session convened a called meeting for the purpose of the examination of incoming officers. This is part of the annual election, training, ordaining and installing of a new class of elders and deacons to serve West Raleigh. As Presbyterians we take this discipline seriously. Officers elect met three times before Tuesday night to study the Book of Order and the Confessions, West Raleigh’s history and the Reformed tradition. We studied the Scriptures and discussed our own need for Christian formation and spiritual practice. We unpacked and repacked church structure, committees and finances. And, please believe me when I say, we had fun! It was a joy to gather with such a faithful group of men and women who are ready to receive and offer the gift of leadership. This coming Sunday, on Pentecost, we will ordain and install them into service. Elders will attend the June session meeting with the outgoing class, and the deacons will attend the June diaconate meeting. Beginning in July the new class will officially join the boards.

As part of this process, each incoming officer wrote and shared a Statement of Faith with the group on Tuesday night. Each Statement was a beautiful reflection of theological conviction and wonder woven together with each individual’s personal journey. I am humbled to be serving with so great a group of witnesses. Below is a small, yet powerful sample of their expressions of faith.

Enjoy, and I will see you in church,


This Church is not built of wood and stone, but by the ties that bind the hearts of all believers. – David Vanpelt, Deacon

I believe the river of the Divine flows by all of us. We each take different paths to reach the river – some of us walk on well-trodden paths and some of us take un-cleared and more circuitous routes. There are some who don’t try to reach the river, but are walking nevertheless on the road of goodness and mercy. – Kathy Huffststetler, Elder

I do believe Jesus is with you through the joys and profound sorrows of life. To love someone more than life, to take joy in the air you breathe, to marvel at God’s paintbrush for all creation and feel his presence is a true gift from God. Choosing to follow a Christian life is not the easy way. It means accepting what you cannot clearly see on faith alone. It means living each day in the glory of God trying to follow his ways.   – Mary Thornbury, Deacon

My father, born in to a family of German Jews, lost whatever belief in God he once had after the enormity of the Holocaust was made known. The fact of such evil challenges me deeply, but I have not abandoned hope. Indeed my faith has occupied more of my being, and has perhaps grown stronger, as I grow old.  – Thomas Goldsmith, Elder

As a Scientist and Educator seeking knowledge and better understanding of nature and how it functions has been for me a daily pursuit. That knowledge and understanding has not modified the central tenets of my Christian faith but has simply determined how I view and understand the world around me. – Udo Blum, Deacon

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