Ten years ago on July 1st was my first Sunday at Winter Park. I remember being a nervous, wet-behind-the-ears recent seminary graduate. I remember giving a mediocre sermon on Luke 9:57-62. I remember being curious about what the life that Amy and I were to lead in Wilmington would be like. Most of all, I remember being profoundly touched by the welcome that Amy and I received. From our first days here we were shown hospitality, grace, and love beyond anything we could expect.
Ten years later, that same hospitality and love has enveloped our family as each of our three children were born. It has marked the many occasions for joy and occasional moments of sorrow that we have been through. When I have shared stories and reflections with friends who are also pastors, I have always been able to share how deeply blessed I am to serve a congregation so oriented towards the love to which Christ calls us. I have been able to give thanks for the many aunts and uncles, grandparents, brothers and sisters my children have among the members of WPPC.
As much as I celebrate that love that my own family has known, it would mean little (an probably wouldn’t exist at all) if it were not a common expression and experience among members and friends of the church. I give thanks for the Christ-like and Christ-embodied love which is lived and practiced among our little part of the Body of Christ which is the church. I am thankful beyond measure for the grace of God which sustains that love. I pray that God continue to give us all strength to walk in that way. May we know that we are Christians by the love that we live out, day by day.