January 21, 2018

“Out with the old, in with the new!” “Something old, something new…” These are two familiar sayings. The latter has to do with what bride’s wear/carry at weddings, the former is associated with the arrival of a New Year. What do they have to do with the Pastor’s Annual Report?

Of these traditional sayings, I much prefer the “something old, something new” when it comes to church leadership. A lot of Pastors, upon arriving at a new charge immediately implement many new things and change what was previously done.

Upon learning that I was called to my first Pastorate, I asked an older more experience Pastor friend for a word of advice. He said, “Ken, don’t upset the apple cart.” I have always remembered that in my call to former and present churches (just 3). There are usually good reasons why something was done in a particular way at the time. Situations and times do 

change – and that provides the opportunity to assess, reevaluate what to keep and what to change. 

In the past 6 years here at WBCC we have done that. As a result, we have continued ministry and worship following a pattern developed over our history going back to 1895. We have made some changes, here and there but have pretty much “kept the course.”

On most Sundays, there are only a handful of folks in attendance who were present 6 years ago when I was called to succeed Pastor John Thursby. One of the things I am most proud of is how the “new” people have been welcomed by the “old” and how we have grown together and moved forward. Being respectful of tradition but also open to doing things a little differently. I believe this approach has served us well and will continue to guide us in 2018.

For the second year in a row we have added 10 new members (see clerk’s report for their names). In addition to the worship services and weekly Bible Study, the events sponsored by our Church have continued our tradition of being a “community church.” This is also seen in our hosting the Neighborhood Association’s meetings, several AA groups and Fellowship Hall rentals.

As we enter our 123rd year of ministry, I would encourage us to “keep on keeping on.” The one area I would like to see added emphasis placed upon is the attracting and retaining of younger adults and families. If we are going to be here for future decades then we must reach and enfold younger people while we retain and care for the older and more seasoned generation.

The Apostle Paul gave this instruction to Titus – his son in the ministry, “Let the older teach the younger” (Titus 2:4) – good words of advice!

My Pastoral responsibilities continue to be: preaching and teaching the Word, prayer, visitation, counseling, priestly duties (weddings, funerals, etc.), being a member of the Church Council, serving as a resource to Committees and Community Outreach. 

As for numbers, I conducted 20 funerals, officiated 2 weddings (participated in a 3rd), and performed 1 christening. Attendance of the Sunday Worship services was 42 (down slightly from 45) Attendance at the Wednesday Bible Study reached a high of 17 several times but generally averaged about 12. I look forward to continuing to serve as your Pastor and anticipate further spiritual and numerical growth as we enter 2018.

Submitted by Rev. L. Kenneth Fellenbaum