Remember when you were a new face … at school, or work or on a date or stepping into a bar or a new neighborhood, a PTA meeting, an AA meeting? We’ve all had the experience of wondering what we’ve gotten ourselves into, what will the challenges be and will I hold on long enough to handle being regarded as a new face. I invite you to take a look around you at st. john’s. If you are a new face, let yourself be seen, allow your authenticity to shine through, knowing it will be honored here. If you’ve been around a bit, take a long around at new members, look at the photos to acquaint yourselves with names connected to faces. Do the same with our leaders, our deacons and elders, at st. john’s. when you look at them remember that you elected them, in fine Presbyterian democratic – representative style, to lead, guide, struggle, wonder and vision on your behalf. St. john’s has a long history of leadership that regards who we are as a gift and work to capitalize on that, so we can be the best God has made us to be. We are unique, not cookie cutter, nor conforming to another church-way of doing things. Being part of a denomination sometimes implies that each congregation is the same as the other. Heaven forbid! Literally. When each of us came as a new face, a guest to st. john’s our gut told us something. If we kept coming back our gut felt good. There might have been a bit of intellect and emotion contributing in there as well, but mostly it was just plain gut feelings. If you are, here you are part of the whole and the whole has been tweaked by you, moved by your face, massaged by your presence, influenced by your priorities and participation. St. john’s is not the same after your arrival. Believe it! you are part of what makes us, betters us, conforms us more completely to the image that God has for us. Our leaders reflect where you are at, who you are, and work to move us all together into a joy-filled, grateful response to what God is doing among us. My greatest goal while being at st. john’s has been to be able to one day leave and no one would notice, things would continues so well, uninterrupted, that maybe in a year’s time someone would say, ”Oh that’s right, whatever happened to John.” Well you’re still stuck with me until you tell me to get lost. However our leaders are at that place where they carry the load, hold the vision, get it completely. They have momentum, passing on their wisdom to the next class of leaders. It really is a joy to see. If our leaders are new faces to you please take a look at who they are, perhaps even introduce yourself to them. I know for a fact that every one of them would love to meet a new face. Thank you leaders, you are incredible. Thank you congregation for electing and supporting them. Thank you, God, for giving us, as ever, the right people, at the right time with the appropriate grace and humility, for the next part of our journey together.