June 2013 Newsletter

Dear Friends in Christ,


         The apostle Paul wrote these words to the Christians at Philippi.


“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy - meditate on these things.”  (Philippians 4:8)


         As most of you know, Bishop Martin McLee, the new bishop of the New York Annual Conference, has announced his intention to appoint me as pastor of Grahamsville and Sundown United Methodist Churches as of July 1, 2013.  My final Sunday with you will be June 16, Confirmation Sunday, and my “last” day will be June 19.  I have much packing to do and a good deal of vacation time to use in a very short period.  News of this significant change for the church and for me and my family has come with very little advanced notice, so there is much to do in a very brief time.  May God guide and sustain us through this challenging transition.

         Change is not always easy.  If the change is welcome, there may still be stumbling blocks and if the change is unwelcome, it can be difficult and truly disheartening.  The apostle Paul reminds us that whatever our situation, we can make a choice about how we think and where we focus our attention.  He instructs us to meditate on the true , the just, the good, the noble, the pure, the right.  In that spirit I would like to offer a few words of gratitude to God and to others.

         I thank God for the opportunity to serve as your pastor for these eleven years.  It’s hard to believe that Daniel, who was entering 2nd grade when we arrived here, will graduate from John Jay High School in just 3 weeks.  I was blessed to have over a decade to serve the Lord in this place and to share in your lives and in your faith journeys in a meaningful way.

         I am grateful for all the dedicated saints and servants of the Lord who are a part of the Fishkill United Methodist Church.  I will cherish in my heart and mind various folks in this congregation who have taught me about the Christian life through their compassion, their patience, their humility, their hospitality, their willing hands and their gentle spirits.  As a pastor, I gain so much from the witness of those around me.

         I am thankful for those who give generously of their time, talent, energy and service to do the work of the church.  This congregation is blessed with many hard working souls who give sacrificially of themselves to maintain and sustain the ministry of the church.  May you and your new pastor claim a common vision for Christ so that all those gifts can continue to be used effectively for God’s glory.

         I am grateful for the perseverance that brought us through “the great flood”, keeps us struggling over the future of 42A & B, that wrestles to raise up new leadership as former leaders move on, that plugs away at the Call to Action/Vital Congregations process while seeking new vision, that envisions a new structure for our Stepping Stones Pre-School to keep pace with changing times, that prays to raise up the sick, comfort the grieving and transform the world.  The work of Jesus Christ involves challenge and requires sacrifice.  As Paul writes in Romans 5, “suffering produces endurance, and endurances produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us.”  What a privilege to be part of a congregation that knows how to persevere in the Lord.

       There is not time or space to express my gratitude for our moments together in worship, the opportunity to minister and share with you in your times of joy and sorrow, the fellowship of the Friday Bible Study and the U.M.W., the gift of reaching out to the community through our emergency assistance ministries and through holiday food and gift giving, the joy of working and playing and praying with the youth of this church, the honor of preaching and the delight of singing in the choir.  Thank God and thank you for all that was good and noble and true.

       I will miss this church.  I will miss its people.  I pray for you and your new pastor who will begin July 1.  I hope you will pray for me and my family as we trust God for our future.  God bless you all.


                                                                          In Christ’s Love,

                                                                             Rev. Peggy Ann Sauerhoff