Parting Words from Your Presbytery Pastor, Tom Sheffield

News from Zimbabwe
Today Zimbabwe is very much in the news.  Because events are moving so quickly I hesitate to say anything concrete about what is happening or, even more, what it all may mean.  I can tell you we have been in touch with our partners and they indicate no immediate problems for them, their families or their congregations.  The Delegation, which has been in our Presbytery and left on Monday, has arrived home safely.  They, too, are watching and waiting to see what will next occur and to see how they will respond.  We also have communicated with the leaders of the Presbytery of Zimbabwe to let them know that they are in our prayers.  Keep watch both in your news outlets and through the Presbytery about events there and remember to pray for all Zimbabweans and, especially, for our partners, the Presbytery of Zimbabwe.

Prayer for Family and Friends of Jane Hays
On Saturday, November 18, at 11 a.m. a Service of Witness for the Resurrection will be held for our colleague Jane Hays at Shepherd of the Hills Church.  Please continue to remember the family and friends of Jane in your prayers and acts of kindness.

Parting Words
As I complete my service to the Presbytery of Denver and seek a new path for life and ministry, I share “twelve suggestions” for you.  

  • Say “yes” to serving.  Several years ago Clarke Vestal told a group of new ministers that serving in the Presbytery strengthens your ministry.  I believe that.  Plus, of course, it is what we promise to do when we are ordained and installed – serve in the councils of the church.  When the Nominating Committee calls, you should, at least, give deep and long consideration to serving and, probably, you should say “yes.”
  • Consider applying for a month of service in a Presbytery of Zimbabwe congregation.  You will be changed.  Our whole Presbytery will be changed.  And our Partnership will be deepened in new ways.  If you want more information, contact Frances McWilliams, chairperson of the Short-term Service Program Committee.  There are some funds to help you serve.  
  • When a new minister comes to Denver Presbytery, reach out with a phone call, a cup of coffee, a lunch and the possibility of friendship.  When you hear that a colleague is having trouble, reach out again with care, support and prayer.  When you receive news about the death of a colleague, write a note, invite your church to be in prayer and attend the Service of Witness to the Resurrection for your colleague.
  • Encourage congregations to participate in events of the Presbytery.  Using the weekly bulletin announcements is a small way to do that.
  • Pray for one another.  Pray for churches and ministries.  Pray for the whole church.  
  • Keep up with the news of the Presbyterian Church and look for the good in our church to share with one another and with congregations.  Give thanks for those who are working with and for you in the Presbytery, the Synod and the General Assembly.
  • Tell others not only about problems of ministry but also about its joys.
  • Watch for those who may have gifts for ministry in the church and invite them to consider studying and preparing for the Ministry of Word and Sacrament or as a Commissioned Ruling Elder.
  • Welcome the work of the Presbytery.  Be grateful for the work of the Committee on Ministry with you and with your Sessions and Congregations.  Receive the possibilities of connecting with and through the Presbytery in mission and ministry.  And welcome and reach out to the next Presbytery Pastor.
  • Remember that whatever your ministry, whether you serve as a teacher, a psychotherapist, a pastor, associate pastor, administrator, parish associate, whether you are installed by the Presbytery or employed by the Session, whether you are still being paid or are studying at a seminary or are now retired or are looking and hoping for work, whether your congregation has been around for decades or is finding its way as a new worshiping community, whether you are in a validated ministry or work for the “larger church,” or serve in congregational ministry, whether you are in a large church or a small church or something in-between, whether you are in the mountains, in the city, in the suburbs or in the plains, you are all together in one service for Christ.  
  • You are loved by God.  At heart there is nothing more you need to know.  Remain grateful for that truth and let your ministries flow from that unswerving reality.  Of course, living it gets more complicated, but the power of that understanding can help sort it out and get all of us through difficult days.
  • And one more -  remember you remain in my heart, that is filled with gratitude, respect, prayer and love for you always.  In my very first message I quoted the following passage from Philippians.  These years later it is still true.  Maybe it is truer than ever.

I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.      Philippians 1:3 – 5

Peace,
      Tom