February 2024


Philippians 3:13-14 - "Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

My undergraduate years at East Carolina University, set in the heart of Greenville, NC, were a stark contrast to the rolling foothills and vibrant landscapes of the Carolinas where I grew up. Greenville, with its modest elevation and expansive tobacco fields stretching to the horizon, offered a landscape of predictable and straight pathways, unlike the winding and ascending roads of the mountains I knew so well.

During one summer my college friend Corkey, a native of the flat terrain of Tarboro, NC, joined me on a journey to the North Carolina mountains. This trip marked a departure from the familiar, flat roads of our college town to a terrain that was second nature to me but entirely foreign to Corkey.

As we delved into the mountainous region, the shift in landscape was profound. The gentle hills rapidly transformed into steep ascents, and the straight roads gave way to a maze of winding curves. For Corkey, accustomed only to the flat roads of Eastern North Carolina, each rising hill and sharp curve was a challenge met with increasing apprehension. His hands clutched the steering wheel tightly, his body leaning into each turn, as if willing the car to reveal the path ahead. When the steep descents began to strain the brakes, I stepped in to guide him on the art of downshifting – a skill unneeded in his familiar flatlands.

In these moments, Corkey's usual ease was replaced by a visible tension. It was a journey of trust, convincing him that beyond each unseen bend and over each hill's crest, the road would indeed continue. This experience parallels our current journey through a period of change and uncertainty.

As St. Peter’s and I navigate the roads ahead, our experiences reflect the journey Corkey undertook in the mountains. Facing unfamiliar turns and uncharted ascents, we, too, step into the unknown. Yet, in this, the message of Philippians serves as a guiding light – urging us to press on with faith and leave behind our reservations.

As we part ways, it is with a profound sense of shared purpose and identity in Christ Jesus. Our paths in ministry may lead us in different directions, but our spiritual bond remains unbroken. We are intricately linked in the communion of saints, a connection that transcends our joint ministry and is deeply rooted in our collective faith in Christ.

Moving forward, the Holy Spirit remains our steadfast guide, empowering us to embrace this new chapter with hope and courage. Our separate journeys are still part of a greater narrative, woven together by the unwavering love and guidance of Christ Jesus our Lord. In this spirit, we press onward, united in our purpose and sustained by the promise of His eternal presence.

Forever United in Christ,

Pastor Greg