From the Desk of Bishop Webb: Thank you to Upper New York clergy
Editor's note: The following letter was sent to Upper New York clergy on October 13, 2021.
As the church celebrates Pastors Appreciation Month, I wanted to send you a note to add my voice in saying thank you! Your lives and your commitment to Christ and the Church are valued and deeply appreciated. The congregations, ministry settings and communities you serve and have served, are blessed because of you!
The work of ministry and leadership in the church is in so many ways a blessing beyond measure, yet it is also a responsibility that at times brings a crushing weight. As the external continues to swirl around us, I do not take for granted the commitment, sacrifice, and perseverance you demonstrate and offer. Over and over again, you faithfully respond to God’s call in your life to follow the way of Jesus Christ and provide leadership within and among the body of Christ.
These days are hard. Losses surround us, personally and corporately. There is a weariness that comes in leading within an anxious world, amid an anxious people. Some of you have struggled with health concerns. Others have faced or are facing emotional and spiritual wounds. Some have endured the deep and significant loss of loved ones through death or the uncertainty of walking alongside friends and family members who face significant health challenges. You are navigating congregations and communities that do not always agree with one another and do not always see one another with the eyes and heart of Jesus.
These days are hard! Yet, these days are filled with promise and assurance that our God is behind, beside and in front of us in every situation. These days are filled with evidence of God at work in and through you. I hope you see that. I hope you trust that. I hope you lean into that truth.
Your ministry is an inspiration to all who experience it, including me. Your willingness to continue to give and to serve, even when you wonder with what, is a blessing. Two simple words, with such deep expression and sincerity – THANK YOU!
As you serve, I hope you will allow yourself to be served. As you nurture and replenish those around you, I pray that you will allow yourself to be nurtured and replenished. As you faithfully lead the people of God to live the way of following Jesus Christ, I pray that you will continue to go deeper in that journey as well. Care for your soul. Care for your mind. Care for your body. Be selfless for the sake of Christ and practice self-care well to increase your ability to be selfless.
Please know that I pray for you often and desire to walk alongside you in any way that will strengthen your journey with Christ and your call to serve. But most of all, in this month and every month, know of my great gratitude for you and all that you give because of Jesus and in the name of Jesus!
I can think of no better way to end a note of appreciation than using these words from Philemon:
“I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.”
With deep thanks and love,