I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19a
Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.” Matthew 13:52
I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. First, a very brief thumbnail autobiography, which I’ll be happy to elaborate on as we get to know each other:
I’m a native of Masontown, Pennsylvania, a small mining and farming community in the southwestern corner of the state. I’m a graduate of Penn State University, and since 1984 I’ve lived in greater Columbus Ohio, where I was an architect in private practice before entering the ministry. I hold a Master of Divinity from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus. My pastoral experience actually began before completing seminary. I served as a Solo Pastor/Commissioned Ruling Elder to the Frankfort Presbyterian Church, a 130-member congregation in a small farming community in south-central Ohio. During much of that time, I also served as an Associate Chaplain at two large hospitals in Columbus. Most recently, I was the Pastor for Congregational Care and Youth of the Worthington Presbyterian Church, a 1,500-member congregation in suburban Columbus – where I had been a member from 1988 until the time of my ordination. I also have two wonderful daughters – Erica, 22; and Andrea, 18. I hope that at some point, they’ll be able to meet all of you.
My past includes some parallels with yours: The Frankfort congregation was founded in 1851 by the noted abolitionist and Presbyterian minister John Rankin, just as Westminster has similar abolitionist roots. And for many of the years I attended the Worthington congregation as a member, the Senior Pastor was a much-beloved, highly gifted man whom we were sad to lose to retirement – and who also happened to be named Phil. I’d like to think that these pieces of my past give me a special affinity for all of you, and that it will help to make me an ideal pastor for you now.
I’m very excited about becoming your Interim Pastor, and walking through this transitional time with you. As the Isaiah text above indicates, God is continually doing a new thing in our midst and calling us to live into that newness. At the same time, Jesus eloquently describes that new thing – life in the kingdom of God – as being like the manager of a household bringing out treasures new and old as are appropriate. Times of congregational transition are intended to enable us to examine where our spiritual “household” has been; to discern what God is calling it to be now, in our time and place; and to determine which “old treasures” should be retained and which new ones will be needed in order to achieve God’s plans for us. It’s going to be a time of great discovery and excitement, and I’m looking forward to walking that path together with you.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Dwain Lee