For the Living of These Days—A Word from Renee Purtlebaugh

What a historic week in the life of Highland this has been! Looking back on this past weekend and to Sunday, after 30 months of interim life, it feels almost like a dream where I have woken up wondering, “did that really happen?” Yes, yes it did!

I’m overjoyed to welcome Mary Alice as our next pastor at Highland, the first woman to be called (virtually no less) by our congregation into the lead pastor role in our history. The celebration is happening far and wide as I’ve heard from some of her extended family that I’ve known since childhood, as well as from some of our mutual connections at Georgetown College. One celebratory social thread has even sent me back to the history books as someone names that their grandfather was the interim at Highland years ago and the baptistery is named after someone’s grandmother—all connections I haven’t known about and am eager to make in my mind. I’ve been fascinated to watch those who have traveled through Highland at some point on their journey being reminded of their fond connections to our community of faith in these moments.

More than anything though, I’m being reminded that Highland’s story has had so many chapters prior to this moment and recognizing that there are still many, many chapters to be written in the beautiful future God has for us. I’m grateful for Mary Alice’s call to us to wonder—what if God’s wildest impossible dreams might actually still be before us?!

Beloved Highland, God has held our congregation up to this point and I am confident God will hold us and carry us into our beautiful and bold future with Mary Alice, giving us strength for today and bright hope for our tomorrows. Rest there today. Breathe deeply this trust and lean into the Spirit as together we begin to wonder what wild,  impossible dream God has for us next.  ~ Renee