Greetings From Chattanooga!

Dear Church,

Greetings from Chattanooga! With only a couple of weeks before we are together, I wanted to connect and share with you all the reasons I am so eager to be with you.

I want to invite you to come to worship on my first Sunday, which will be Sunday September 6. I invite you because this Sunday is much more important for the whole church than it is for me. The start of a new minister in a congregation is not unlike the birth of a child. You have been through a waiting, a time of holy anticipation, and now the time has come. Together, like new parents, we will have unique opportunities. We will share opportunities to learn what is most important, and we will share opportunities to heal old wounds.

Your church is going through so many different transitions, and that makes me so eager to come and be your Pastor. “Pastor” is my favorite term for my vocation because of its connection with the word “shepherd.” I do not feel called to tell you what to do or what to believe. But I am energized to consider my role as a shepherd: to help the flock know their general direction in following God’s call, to care for the needs of any that are wandering or hurting, to recognize and encourage the different gifts that God has already placed among you.

I am eager for my family to get to know you and find their new extended family in Christ. My wife Lisa has found a job as a Physician Assistant working for Wilmington Health. My two sons, Isaiah (almost five) and Bennett (three), are of course excited to move to a beach town, and God only knows how many baseballs they will hit in the field behind the church. If you wanted a young family with lots of energy, just get ready, my boys may give you more than you would have asked for!

I am also eager because I believe I have already witnessed the true heart of hospitality in FCC Wilmington. You should all be incredibly proud of your Search Committee, led by Jeannie May. Their welcome and hospitality from our first words together were truly astounding. Lisa and I were immediately impressed, and the character of the Committee played an important role in helping Lisa and I prayerfully discern that this was indeed a place where God’s Spirit was active.

I am excited for our first Sunday together and do hope you will come, but I am even more excited for all the Sundays after that, as we work together to see what great plans God has for us in our new life.

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Brad McDowell

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