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Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again, I say rejoice!

My family has just returned home from our wonderful Pentecost celebration with you filled with joyous anticipation of our next chapter of life and ministry in Houston. This summer we will be packing, traveling on vacation, packing, traveling back to Guatemala to host congregations, packing, traveling back to the US, packing, visiting family, packing, traveling to Houston, and unpacking. For sure, we will be packing both practical and sentimental items into boxes, along with a slew of books. In addition to those physical items, we will also be packing up our expectations, life experiences, conscious and unconscious biases, fears, worries, delights, and challenges. We will arrive in Houston, bringing our whole selves with us, as we join into the CTK community. I imagine many of your summer plans might also include visits to family, traveling for business or for fun, worries, delights, and challenges of a variety of sorts.

As we enter the fall, you and I will begin the journey of unpacking together, of bringing our whole selves and all of our individual and communal experiences, our hopes and fears, our biases, and our challenges into a space of anticipated exploration and discovery. My hope is that though we surely will begin with expectations of each other, that we might also enter with open minds and hearts, striving to overflow like that baptismal font with grace.

Rejoice in the Lord, always. Again, I say rejoice!

I never cease to find myself in awe when I pause to remember that Paul wrote these words to the Philippian community from prison, apart from the Philippian community, yet continuing to care for and encourage them. Wherever we find ourselves this summer, may we pause to remember to rejoice individually and as a community, moving into a new season of life together. May we look for and rejoice in small daily delights, and may we also rejoice in what is to come, trusting that the Holy Spirit is guiding and equipping us. Again, I will say rejoice!

Grace and peace and hope,
Pastor Jennifer