Reverend Dr. Dawn M. Conti

 

From The Pastor:

Change

In June our daughter, Emily, was married.  This month our daughter, Kate, will move into an apartment on campus; Kevin and I will soon be empty-nesters.  In three weeks our roads will be flooded with traffic as summer ends and a new school year begins.  Change.  Someone once said that it’s the only thing in life that is constant.

Each stage of life is full of passages which involve gains and losses.  Some-times we don’t want the changes that come from life altering events such as illness, mid-life crisis, a move, the loss of a job, and changes that come to us as we our age.  And if we aren’t primarily affected by the event, it is difficult to watch friends and people we love moving away from us in one way or another.

It’s especially unsettling when things change in the church.  After all, that’s the one place many of us count on to be stable.  In April, we said to goodbye to members Shirley Underwood and Bill and Nancy Lee Christian as they moved to California and St. Petersburg, respectively.  Three weeks ago we said good bye to Erica who moved to Germany to pursue her career in opera.  Last Sunday we said “good-bye” to Enoch, who graduated from UF and will be moving home to Orlando and pursue his music career.  Can’t anything stay the same just for a little while?

In the second chapter of Mark’s gospel the scribes and the Pharisees ask the same thing but much more forcefully.  When Jesus showed up his actions were in direct opposition to their methods of preserving holiness; he had new ways of doing things.  He ate with outcasts and sinners and even let some of them serve as disciples.  And, he didn’t make them fast which really got under the collar of those in the Jerusalem religious establishment.  Our God who is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow is always “doing a new thing” God is alive and doesn’t do reruns.  Think about it: no two human beings ever were, are, or will be created exactly the same, no two sunrises or sunsets were, are, or ever will be exactly the same.  And God can be counted on to keep bringing new life in new and often unexpected ways.  God will not allow us to break the first commandment and have other gods before Him, not even the idols of our past.  The scribes and Pharisees were clinging so tightly to their way of doing things, they were blinded to the fact that the Savior of the world was standing in their midst.  His presence was cause for celebration, not a fast.  How sad when we cling so tightly to a gift from the past that we cannot see the gift staring us in the face in the present.  As Lloyd Olgilvie, put it, the false security of the familiar must be constantly replaced by trusting God with the complexities and uncertainties staring me in the face today.”

 

In all experiences involving change, big or small, leave room for God to work.  Grieve the loss of the old, but then open your mind, hands, and heart to receive the gifts of the new.  What change are you facing? What surprises, what new gifts, might God want to give you through that change?  Change in our lives may be constant, but God’s love for us through Christ is eternal.

 

Your pastor and friend,

Pastor Dawn

A LETTER FROM THE PASTOR  
August 6, 2017
 
 
Dear Members and Friends,

When I first came to Kanapaha Presbyterian Church I was welcomed with open arms. Since that time we have shared 14 wonderful years together. Throughout this family of faith has supported, loved, and nurtured me, helping me to grow into the pastor I am today.  My ministry at KPC has been a tremendous gift not only to me, but also to my family. When I was invited to serve as your Pastor in May of 2003, I was convicted of God’s call. Now I believe God is calling me to serve another church. KPC will always hold a special place in my heart and I am deeply grateful for the ministry I have shared with all of you. I am confident that our faithful Shepherd, Jesus Christ, whose loving hand has been on this church for over 150 years, is in the midst of calling your next pastor.
 
You may be wondering what this will mean for Kanapaha Church. Below is a timeline that will serve as a guide through this time of transition:
 
(1)   The session has called a congregational meeting for 8/20/17 immediately following worship. The purpose of this meeting will be to dissolve my call as Solo Pastor to Kanapaha Church, effective four weeks from today on September 3, 2017 after worship.
(2)   I have made provision for pulpit supply for the four Sundays following my resignation. The Rev. Dan Graham, will fill the pulpit September 24 and the Rev. Fairy Caroland, will fill the pulpit on September 10, 17, and Oct 1.
(3)   An Interim Pastor Nominating Committee will be appointed by the session. (An Interim Pastor’s role is to get the church ready for the next installed Pastor.) Presbytery Clerk, Sandra Hedrick, and the Moderator for the Presbytery’s Committee on Ministry, Kristie Hall, will guide the session through this process.
(4)   I will be taking four weeks off before beginning in my new call as Pastor: Head of Staff for the First Presbyterian Church of St. Petersburg on Monday, October 9.
 
 
With deep appreciation and love,
 

Pastor Dawn