For the Living of These Days—A Word from Jim England

From 2019 I carry a profound sense of gratitude for Highland Baptist Church. Diana Butler Bass in her book, Grateful: The Subversive Practice of Giving Thanks, wrote “gratitude is an emotion, a complex set of feelings involving appreciation, humility, wonder, and inter-dependence.” She says that ultimately gratitude is about connection. As I look back over 2019 and 2018, gratitude is what I feel for you.

I have been witness to painful loss within our fellowship and seen how you pull together  providing meals, preparing space, supporting each other and creating services of remembrance so that the losses are shared.

I have been witness to your faithful attendance and giving. Easier to coast during an interim. You have not. Rather you stepped up. I see you building that interdependence that Butler Bass suggests. You keep the community of faith vital.

I have been witness to a staff—their leadership, compassion and gifts. I see them seeking education while being pastoral in their ministry groups. I love how they lead. I love how they collaborate.

I am grateful. I could name so much more. However, I have a different point I want to make. As we focus on who will be coming as pastor, what that one will be like, and how grateful we will be to finish their interim time, I want to tell that person what a special church they are coming to. I am grateful for the future that is coming, the one you have already begun.