Reflections from the Pastor

Sun, Sep 25

An exciting moment in the life of Payson Park Church!

What an exciting moment in the life of Payson Park Church! On Sunday, Oct. 2, we are voting to call the Rev. Eric Wefald as the next Settled Pastor of the Payson Park Congregational Church. I’m sure you join me in welcoming Eric into our congregation and to looking forward to how God will guide our ministry together in its next chapter of our lives in Belmont and the world.

As I anticipate good things happening in Eric’s ministry with you, I am looking both forward and backwards. Next month in the Messenger I want to share with you my hopes for the future of Payson Park Church. This month I want to reflect on the two and a half years now gone by that I’ve spent in ministry with you. When I came to serve as your interim pastor in June 2014, I found a congregation that was in a time of grief and loss. Many of you had so appreciated the ten years of ministry that the Rev. Lael Atkinson had spent with you, and were surprised and sorry that she had felt the time was at hand for her to seek another setting for her life’s calling. The first several months I was here I tried to listen to your feelings and to establish a pastoral relationship with you that, not replacing what you had experienced with Lael, nevertheless offered you a chance to be heard and to trust again that God had not left Payson Park in the lurch, but rather was now positioning you for a time of transition to your next chapter of life as a congregation. To that end, I suggested a couple of new things in 2014 that you were willing to try: the weekly Men’s Breakfast group, the reconstituting of the Faithful Reflections Bible Study group, and the engagement in the year-long congregational assessment process called “Crossroads,” which we followed together throughout 2015. From Crossroads came your clarity about the congregation’s strengths and gifts that will help focus your work of mission and outreach and equip you to move forward under Rev. Wefald’s guidance. But I’m getting ahead of myself here… that’s what I want to share in next month’s issue. For now, I want to say thanks for welcoming me so hospitably when I arrived here and for all the way along through these two and a half years. Payson Park Church is a caring and committed community of faith, and this is an exciting threshold at which to be. Please read on in this October issue for all kinds of information on how you can put your faith into action this Fall!

In faith with you,

Rev. Tom Forster-Smith