After a candidating service followed by a congregational vote this morning, I am delighted and proud to present myself as the pastor of First Congregational Church of Ripon, Wisconsin. This church is the type of church I've dreamed of serving for years-- so much more my "cup of tea" than I ever imagined my first pastorate being. It is located on the campus of Ripon College, a small liberal arts school, but the town itself is surrounded by farmlands. From that, the congregation is filled with people who are both intellectually driven and in-touch with God's great Earth. They have just begun discussions on the Open and Affirming process, something that I feel very passionately about, and I'm so glad to walk with them through it. They have also received a challenge from the religion department head of Ripon College to be the leader in Interfaith dialogue in the community, another passion of mine.
|Excuse the crooked photo, |
it was taken out the passenger side of the car.
All three of us first flew out to Ripon about a month ago. After a second interview (the first was on Skype), the search committee met us for a beautiful dinner on Green Lake, and then spent a day showing us the town and the church. I went back to the hotel that evening and said to Maic, "It's too good to be true." Being so far from home is truly the only negative of this place, and we already feel like the congregation is embracing us and we're in good hands.
After that interview, I wrote the blog entry on patience, and I waited until I got the call while I was in Arizona offering me the position. Since then, I've had to go back to the patience entry about 30 times to remind myself that I can wait to make the announcement until after worship on Sunday the 22nd. :)
|We arrived in our hotel room Friday night to a bouquet of sunflowers, a note, and two boxes |
of Rippin' Good cookies. YES, this town does have a cookie factory!
We're still in Ripon until tomorrow afternoon, and we have a pretty booked schedule until then, so I'll leave the update at this and come back Monday or Tuesday to update you all about things like my Ordination ceremony and our moving date. My first Sunday here is September 2nd.
Many blessings to you all! Thanks for all the thoughts and prayers. They have been tangible!