In the preface of his book The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis wrote: 

     “When pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.”

When I was very young, my grandmother told me to choose my friends carefully because I would become like the people with whom I hung out. Well, I have chosen First Free Church and each of you because I see in you courage, and sympathy, and the love of God

It’s true that we haven’t gotten to see each other face-to-face in quite a while. But your influence on my life, and on each other’s lives, remains. Eddie, your tireless good cheer and welcoming hugs are sorely missed. Michelle, your jubilant worship elevates us all to worship a little more energetically too. Jonathan & Grace, your humble service “behind the scenes” makes an impact so few realize. Manuel, your faithfulness in prayer and hunger for spiritual growth touch so many lives. Steve & Jennifer, your Sunday School teaching blesses First Free kids, and your “warm welcomes” when you emcee set an encouraging tone. Hey Lee Family, all eight of you, thank you for sharing your enormous capacity to love with all of us. Michael & Mandy, from music to nursery and so many things in between, you set such an example of steadfast service. Meg, you need to put together a choir for our first Sunday back! “Brosiah,” your enthusiasm to mentor and disciple the youth will bear much fruit! Ruby, I miss your sun-shiney smile in Sunday School! 

I could go on and on, name each one of you, elders, deacons, teachers, singers, greeters, small group leaders, and volunteers in so many areas. But the email would get too long. Hopefully you get the picture. Each of you make up an important part of the body of Christ called “First Free Church.” Thank you for being part of this church community.

Let us press on together, regardless of circumstances, and continue to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel, as Paul exhorted the church at Colossae:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, 
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 
Bear with each other and forgive one another 
if any of you has a grievance against someone. 
Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 
And over all these virtues put on love, 
    which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, 
    since as members of one body you were called to peace. 
And be thankful. 
Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly 
    as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom 
    through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, 
    singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, 
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
      giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:12-17, NIV

Grace and Peace in Christ to you all,
Pastor Del, on behalf of the Elders and Staff