On June 23, 2017 John Purrington sent his first message to the congregation of Simpsonwood UMC –

Good Morning Simpsonwood,

One significant theme we find in Scripture is God moving ahead of us.  God moves in advance, we find that faith leads us in hot pursuit of the trail God blazes!  This life lived in pursuit of God never disappoints.  En route, we find the grace of new and meaningful work, rich community and relationships, exciting adventures in faith … and well … moves!  Sometimes, God says, “Get up, it’s time to get going already!”

As a pastor now for just over 20 years, I have grown to look forward in anticipation of God’s ‘next move’.  I usually don’t see it coming, but have seen so many times how God could scarcely wait to show me what’s next.  One thing I have learned:  if God’s leading, I don’t have to worry, it’s going to be good!  All God requires is willingness to receive what’s ‘next’ in faith of God’s goodness.

Next for all of us at Simpsonwood includes:  new friendships, new rhythms and ways of sharing life together, new ministry realities that come from following God’s preferred future in an ever changing world, and the grace of looking in faith to a new day.  You will learn soon enough about me that I delight in the grace of sharing life together … this surely is among God’s richest graces to each of us.  Relationships are holy and life is meant to be relished new each day.

This Sunday, I will be revealing one of my deep loves with you as a church … fishing!  Yes, I have a tall fishing story to tell you.  Like Peter, I have come to love the grace of fishing ‘with’ and ‘for’ the Lord even more than a great catch.  God’s passion is revealed in a great fish story (Luke 5: 1-11) where God invites us to go fishing together for all kinds of people!  Yep, God’s the guide that knows where the fish are biting.

From the Scripture we will share on Sunday, hear Jesus’ first words to Peter as they began to move together in ministry:

“Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid. From now on, you will be fishing for people.” As soon as they brought the boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.”  (Luke 5: 10b-11)

I can’t wait for Sunday!  In the meantime, yes the Purringtons will be moving.  We all long for the grace of beginning to share life with each of you.  As you allow me to serve as pastor and lead, know that I do so as one who promises to listen deep to the move God is making ahead of each of us.  I am in prayer for Simpsonwood and the grace of what’s next!

Peace in Christ who loves you so,

John Purrington