I’ve been in the Westgate office a week now. I have preached one candidate sermon, one first Sunday sermon, and coordinated one worship service. In car buying terms the new car smell is still very strong. Some have referenced the first year or so of a new pastorate as the honey moon period—if so I just wanted you to know I would enjoy a trip to Aruba—we can talk about that later. Anyway, we are off to a good start together. I am truly excited about this new beginning for I sense a spiritual hunger, a true desire for direction, unity, and positive change within the Westgate family. I sensed in our first Sunday together a spiritual receptivity and hunger that was a bit mystical to me—almost as if much prayer and yearning had preceded my arrival with you. I look forward to accomplishing much and growing measurably together as pastor and people. I believe the so-called honey moon can be much more than good feel and an initial excitement of new beginnings. My prayer is that it will be an intentional and ongoing honoring of one another in the matchless name of Christ.
I’m careful to give special thanks to the Search Committee who were initially drawn to my profile; and met with me numerous times in the discernment and call process. Special thanks to Reverend Grace Shirk—“Amazing Grace” served as a wonderful Interim Pastor during the churches transitional period—and unlike many Interim’s she didn’t just hold the church together but actually led in the furtherance of growth and unity within the church. Special thanks to Rich Schramm, Chair of the Search Committee, who was a steady and constant hand of leadership and wisdom during my candidacy. And finally, a huge thank you to the overwhelmingly positive and affirming vote from the Congregation to call me as your Pastor. The Westgate Church was truly blessed, protected, and guided during the Pastoral search process. And I pray all the manifest benefits of a unified and energized church will steadily unfold.
Finally I would humbly ask for your prayers and understanding during these early days together. While you must become accustomed to a new pastor and some new direction—in my life I must become accustomed to a new church, a new community, new friendships etc. In brief, the entire landscape of my life is going through change. In addition to taking on the new, I am still feeling the normal emotions associated with saying goodbye to my former churches whom I cherish with great affection. Additionally, I am working on selling my home, and thus experiencing some of the challenges of living in two worlds right now. Your prayers and patience are much needed and appreciated. I covet your support and your friendship in Christ as we begin our journey together. Pastor Robert Zimmerman
Every day is a fresh beginning,
Every morn is the world made new.
You who are weary of sorrow and sinning,
Here is a beautiful hope for you,–
A hope for me and a hope for you.
Every day is a fresh beginning;
Listen, my soul, to the glad refrain,
And, in spite of old sorrow and older sinning,
And puzzles forecast and possible pain,
Take heart with the day, and begin again.
Susan Coolidge, 1845