“We walk by faith & not by sight.”  II Cor. 5:7

Yesterday was an emotional day here at Bethel.  Firstly, our dear sister in the Lord, Shirley Ward, went home to be with the Lord on Saturday afternoon.  She had been declining at Banner UMC Hospital & this was expected from the doctors’ prognosis, but on the eve of the Lord’s Day, it was emotional for all of us.  We loved her & miss her already.

Then in the morning service we had a precious worshipful time in the Lord!  The choir did a wonderful job as they sang, “I Will Glorify.”  It was a perfect selection for such a day.  The heavenly harmony was particularly sweet to me.  Wow!  Then Mrs. Emily Blewett’s piano solo offertory of “I Sing the Mighty Power of God” was captivating & stirring to our hearts.  It was another blessing for the day!  I then preached from Nehemiah 6:1-16 on “Fake News, Building the Wall, & God.”  It was NOT a political message at all, but the applications that the Spirit made to individuals was astounding.

Afterwards we dismissed to the Fellowship Hall for a share-a-dish dinner together & proceeded into our quarterly church family meeting.  I offered my resignation to the church after these fourteen plus years.  Due to the family stresses that I bear, I needed to step aside.  My mother is 92 & her medical care demands trips to doctors almost each week.  In addition, Diane’s father who is 88 has vascular dementia & Parkinson’s Disease.  His conditions also demand almost weekly medical attention.  Diane’s sister, Dalice, is in end stage renal failure which is another consideration in this decision.  And finally, Diane has four degenerated discs in her back & periodic episodes of fibromyalgia.  These things plus the demands of the ministry have taken its toll upon me indeed.  But most of all, the church has been treading water for two years because of my circumstances.  I thought it would change by now, but the time has finally come where I just need to step aside for the betterment of the church.  The Lord has made that clear to me.  The church family has been patient & oh-so-kind to me in the interlude.  So I offered my resignation yesterday effective December 31st.

This is sad for me.  The only thing I have done my entire life is to be a senior pastor.  I have humorously said previously that I am good-for-nothing except to be an under-shepherd.  So that being the case, Diane & I now “walk by faith & not by sight” into the Lord’s leading ahead.  We do not have a defined direction, but seek to walk as He would have us to go.  Walking by faith is a scary thing in some ways & a glorious adventure in another.  So, we covet your prayers for us.  We only want to honor & please the Lord the rest of our road in this life.

So I say all of this to say that yesterday was an emotional day for us as a church family.  God is good all the time & He is now also.  PTL for that.  He never changes as the immutable God in Whom we can always count.  To God be all the glory!

Pastor Stertzbach