People of God!

It is the NEW YEAR OF 2021! AND WE MADE IT! We survived. We came through this previous year of many challenges. We didn't all come through unscathed. There were painful, difficult, hard things many of us or our loved ones and friends faced. But we got through it. And every step of the way, JESUS, our God who loves YOU and who loves ME, was with us. He has promised to ALWAYS be with us as we enter this New Year of unknowns ahead.

I don't know what the coming year will bring. I'm not concerned or worried about it. How would that help? We will take each day, each week, each month, as it comes. And all will be well. Why? Because of our Emmanuel! I encourage you to walk closely with the Lord our God. He gives us HOPE, STRENGTH, and CONFIDENCE. Walk closely through your daily personal devotions, coming to in-person worship, worshipping with your church family online, and participating in whatever Bible Study or fellowship activities you can.

I want to thank you for supporting your congregation and staff during this challenging year behind us. Your staff who loves you struggled at times, too. It wasn't always easy. But we are all in this together because we are a family together. I thank you for understanding when we asked that you follow protocols during worship like spread out seating and wearing a mask. I know many of you hate wearing a mask, especially in worship. I hate wearing a mask, too. But we did it for our members who needed to be assured. It wasn't about us. It was about our church family. And I thank you for financially supporting our congregation's mission and ministry. You are very gracious and incredibly generous!

So here we go! Into January. We are starting up our educational ministries again beginning with Confirmation Classes on Wednesday, 1/6. Sunday School Jr/Sr Youth Classes and Adult Bible Study will resume on Sunday, 1/10. Midweek Classes will resume on Wednesday, 1/13. We will work to resume other activities as soon as we can. We will follow protocols, so please be prepared for that. I am confident, that as time goes on, and the vaccine is more readily available, and as more people have Covid and emerge from it, we will get back to our normal ministry routine here at St. James. So don't despair and keep at it!

On a personal note... I am thankful our family at large are all healthy and well. Our little Lucas, now 4, still struggles with intermittent seizures. Grandma Deb and Grandma Mary rotate every other week in Traverse City to help care for him much to the relief of Annie and Wes. Family takes care of family. Son Micah, now half-way through his second year at our Ft. Wayne Seminary, is doing extremely well in his classes and his helpmeet, Audrey, does an excellent job managing the home front. He is beginning to think about and get excited about his coming Vicarage assignment which he will learn WHERE sometime in May. The Lord has been watching over Micah and his dear family all through his time at the Seminary and I am confident he will have an outstanding Vicarage and Mentoring pastor to teach and guide him for that year!

We keep at it! God is good!

  ~ Pastor Brooks