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A Message from Bill Trudeau - Head of Governing Board

Governing Board Update 
Time seems to really be flying.  It seems like Pastor Susan just joined us, but in fact she has been with us nearly two years, ( the amount of time she promised to spend with us). We are so grateful to have had this time with Pastor Susan.  I thought I would share the text of what I said at Pastor Susan's farewell luncheon on December 10th.

Pastor Susan Gibson has been with us for almost two years. 
A few weeks after Susan joined us, it felt like Susan was part of our congregation for years. She managed to learn nearly every name and connection of each family. 
This may not seem like an essential aspect of ministry, but I think it told us from day one how much Susan cared about all of us, and just how hard she was willing to work to earn our confidence. 
Pastor Susan was called as our interim Pastor. As such, she embarked on so many of the important tasks of interim ministers; most importantly: challenging us and how we thought. Pastor Susan offered thoughtful and engaging sermons that helped us navigate a world that is challenging to most Christians living in our world today. 
While Susan worked earnestly on these special interim minister tasks, an amazing thing happened. 
In two years’ time, Pastor Susan was able to compress four or even five years of meetings and efforts and projects and discussions, four or five years’ worth of innovations and improvements, four or five years’ worth of challenges to our notion of who our neighbors were; 
and who we were; 
and what God was calling us to do. 
In doing all this, and being with all of us nearly every hour of these two years, I believe Susan became our minister. 
I don’t think of Susan as our interim minister, I think of Susan as the 22nd settled pastor of Wilbraham United Church and a beloved Pastor as well. 
For this effort and dedication and for the abundance of hard work with which you undertook your ministry here with us, we will be forever grateful to you and we will not forget you. 
Thank you, from the bottoms of all our hearts, and may God bless you as you continue your journey of Christian leadership. 
We are blessed to have Pastor Tom Howells joining us as a "bridge" minister while our Settled Pastoral Search Committee continues their process. I am confident that the combination of Pastor Tom and the lay leadership of the congregation will see us through to the next chapter and to our settled pastor.  During the time of Pastor Susan's interim ministry, we strengthened the lay leadership within our church.   This fact gives me confidence that we will continue to succeed in our ministries and continue to ask ourselves: What is God calling us to do? I have been completely amazed at so many things recently: The Holly Fair and the examples of Christian fellowship that abound from so many aspects of it; the outpouring of affection and gratitude for Pastor Susan on December 10th...less than 24 hours after the end of the Holly Fair, and most recently, the Christmas Pageant on December 17.   I told Mark Jacobson it was the best one I ever saw, to which he replied: “You say that every year", but it was true...it was the best one ever! I am excited about the future of WUC.  We will welcome Pastor Tom Howells back to our church.  The lay leadership and lay ministry teams will continue to feed the hungry and visit those who can't get out to church.  We will continue to make our building a warm home for Alanon, and Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts.  And we will call a new minister to be our settled Pastor.  As we wait with anticipation together, I ask for your continued prayers for our church, its members, its volunteers and leaders as each of us does the work God calls us to do. 
Bill Trudeau Moderator/Governing Board Chair