Greetings to our brothers and sisters in Jesus our Lord!
As Kevin and Leslie move on to the next phase in their lives, we want to take this time to assure you of the hope we have going forward and let you know what we see the immediate future looking like.
The elders of Grace Christian Fellowship have been leading the church, alongside Kevin, although we have not been as visible. We are Doug Coffman, Jim Camp, Daryl Lampla, and Bob Emmert. All of us have been actively involved in studying the Word, serving in the ministry of the church, as well as being faithful in prayer for all of you each week. While no one is claiming it will be easy, we do feel that we are better equipped for this transition time than some churches may be. This is not because we rely on our own strengths, but because we don’t. We have put God’s Word first and rely on His strength. We try to let His Word guide us in all we do. As many of you know, this has been Kevin’s heart for ministry as well. He has helped build this, to varying degrees, into each of us.
Village Missions, an organization dedicated to supporting rural churches, has been helping us support a full-time pastor. They are also responsible for helping support Rob and Pam Yerks in the Watersmeet church. (Rob had been an elder here at Grace until he took this full-time pastoral position.) Village Missions is willing to continue to help us find and support a full-time pastor and is actively looking through the people they have available to find a good match. There is no good way to predict how long that may take. Because they work on a best-match basis versus first-come-first-served, it could be anywhere from weeks to many months before we hear something from them. In the meantime, we have an interim plan in place.
As Kevin has indicated in his weekly emails, Marc Norton (who, while not officially an elder, functions much like one) has offered to finish the Ephesians series that Kevin started. He will be doing the next few sermons for us and is well into preparing this already. After that, Bob Emmert plans to fill in the sermon role speaking on I John. Preparation has begun on that as well. Between those two, that should cover us for at least the summer and maybe a little into fall.
Because many people regularly participate in the weekly service, it will go on much as it has been, with the exception that we will miss Kevin’s singing, keyboard skills, and seasoned preaching.
For the summer, midweek teaching will be paused as has been our practice. We will be deciding how to proceed in the fall during our meetings over the summer.
With the parsonage empty for a time, we will be walking through and looking at both of our buildings to access the physical needs. As finances allow, we will use this time to do needed maintenance. There will probably be opportunity for some of you to help in sprucing things up.
How can you help? What is your part in this time? Please pray for the church, for its ministries, the leadership, the pastoral search, and that we stay focused on God’s Kingdom. Continue your personal study and devotions so that you may draw closer to Christ Jesus. Continue to support the church financially and through service as you are led and as the Word says, cheerfully – not grudgingly or under compulsion. All our continued support will allow us to not just coast through this time but to strongly serve God now and to be better prepared for whatever He brings next.
One weakness we do have currently is communication of needs. Since we do not have someone holding regular office hours, we are concerned that some needs of the congregation may go unmet. If you have any needs or questions for us, you can get a hold of any of us when you see us at church; you can come to one of our monthly elder meetings; you can leave a message on the church answering machine (906-337-8050); or you can use the contact form on the church website (https://www.gracechristiancalumet.com/contact/).
The tone of the elder meeting last Sunday was very hopeful and proactive, while honestly assessing our needs and strengths. We are looking forward to the future, full of faith that God will continue the good work has started here. I know that Kevin and Leslie share that hope, and we all wish it for you as well.
May God Bless You,
The elders at Grace Christian Fellowship