Lara Schopp Articles, Carla Aday, Senior Minister Blog

The Spirit will surprise you. It will rattle your world and then show you something that is possible beyond your wildest imagination. We are two Sunday’s shy of a full year of worshipping 100% via live stream. I could never have fathomed that we could endure this let alone thrive and grow through it. But the Spirit knows us better than we know ourselves. As I ponder what has enabled me to stay sane through these 52 weeks, I am humbled to give thanks for three groups of people without whom I would have thrown in the towel.

One. Our staff. For all of my 33 years at our church I have been surrounded by amazing colleagues but never have I been part of a team more stellar than the one we have today. Over this past year they have gone completely above and beyond. They have worked hours well beyond that for which they were compensated. They have exhibited professional resilience and spiritual devotion and tenacious creativity. They have pulled together as a team, crying and laughing together as the situation warranted. They have given me hope and allowed us to not just stay the course but deepen our faith in the living Christ and bear witness to a love that never ends.

Two. Our board. In the first few weeks last Spring our board met frequently, sometimes weekly, to sort out our options and make wise choices for us all. And in the subsequent months they have steadied us and looked beyond the horizon to ask what God is calling us to do next. While juggling their own family and professional demands, they have devoted themselves to setting a challenging vision for our faith community.. Always ready to take my calls, our board chairs Jeff Zimmerman and Tepring Crocker were my anchors. Our Elder Chairs, Anne Hoffman and Jayson Parker mobilized the elders and deacons to reach out to the congregation with candles, ornaments, prayers and phone calls, knitting us together when covid threatened to pull us apart. Our Personnel Chair, Mary McClure, is an absolute genius and she not only nurtured me and our whole staff but she helped us shape the staff for our future.

Third. My family. My children and grandchildren have been my delight and joy during these days of social isolation. And my husband has been my constant companion in figuring out how best to pastor and love a church that I cannot see and touch every single Sunday. Like me he has a deep love for God’s church. He is the world’s best listener. And my very best cheerleader. He challenges me to dig deep into my own soul to listen for God and share the truth of the gospel. I couldn’t have made it these 50plus weeks without his abiding love and grace.

Where has the Spirit surprised you in the past 52 weeks?

Grace and Peace,