February 7 2016 Pastor’s Corner

First, let me affirm that it is truly a joy to be back at St. Paul’s! Between Lyle’s surgery in Missoula and my journey to the Holy Land with our large group over the past 3 weeks, I have been away from St. Paul’s for a month. Even for me it seems like a long time! Much has happened in our lives – yours and mine – and in the life of our church. Much has happened in the world. During my long trip home from Tel Aviv on Tuesday, I had plenty of time to think . . . and over and over, I pondered just how blessed I was to have a community like St. Paul’s to come home to!
Thanks so much for the many ways you have supported both Lyle and me as we have met the challenges of the past two months. Lyle’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent surgery happened quickly as you know. Your prayers and generosity have meant the world to us.
When we decided that I needed to accompany and lead the Holy Land journey as planned, we knew we would need extra support for Lyle while I was away. Again, you stepped up in ways that we can only describe as overwhelming and gracious. From phone calls to providing rides to bringing food, Lyle was well cared for . . . and we are continuing to enjoy the abundance of food you have provided!
In addition to the support of our congregation, our St. Paul’s staff has been amazing. Not only have they been supportive and helpful with the challenges in my life, they have been instrumental in helping our active congregation continue to thrive. I know that my absence over the past month has put additional pressure on our staff and they have risen to the occasion. I offer my gratitude to them all – Associate Pastor Tyler Amundson, Sue McNicol, Meladie Brandle, Renata Strauss, Lois Neal, Lynn Van Nice, Dave and Fay Buness, Nancy Trudell, Tanya Anderson, Ken Girton, Rob Bonnes and Phyllis Michelson.
The next weeks and months will hold new challenges as Lyle and I both adjust to new habits and a ‘new normal.’ We are grateful to share life with all of you in this community of faith.