I Give Thanks to God
Dr. Bruce Wilder
Dear Friends in Christ:
I give thanks to God for many things:
• I thank the Lord for you, the people of Faith. Men, women and children have served the Lord as members of our congregation since November of 1955. Each generation has faced unique challenges and opportunities for service and discipleship. Your witness to the Gospel of Christ and support of our life and mission as a congregation bless people here in Albuquerque and around the world.
• I thank the Lord for Senior Pastor elect Jerry Watts, Associate Pastor Mark Behenna and Vicar Scott Strachan. When I served on the Ministry Board and Board of Trustees of our church body, people across the nation asked me again and again, “Where will our pastors come from in the future?” LCMC was just getting started back then and many church members in our sister congregations worried about the future. Pastors continue to “come from” the same place as always….healthy, vibrant, mission-minded congregations like Faith! Pray for Jerry, Mark and Scott as servant leaders in our community of Faith. They need and deserve your Christian love in these challenging times.
• I thank the Lord for my wife, Kirsten. During my last year of seminary before heading to my first congregation in 1984, one professor spoke to a gathering of seminary spouses. His words are still with me to this day. He told Kirsten and the others, “It is harder being married to a pastor than being a pastor. I pray for you as the time draws near for your spouses to go to their first churches. It will be difficult in ways you can only imagine now, but will soon enough experience firsthand. God give you strength and peace.” Kirsten has functioned in many ways as a single parent through the years when my duties and responsibilities prevented me from being at home with our children. On Sunday mornings, I was never there to have breakfast with my family and help get four daughters ready for worship. I was called away from too many birthdays, recitals, family vacations…and even Christmas mornings at home…when members of the congregations I served needed their pastor during emergencies, tragedies and untimely deaths. Kirsten never complained. She did her part faithfully so I could do mine.
• I thank the Lord for this nation. I have not traveled as extensively as some of you, but I have traveled enough to know that our freedom in this country is a blessing and nothing to be taken for granted. I am grateful for our way of life, especially the First Amendment to the Constitution. Our religious freedom must never be taken for granted. Those before us made tremendous sacrifices so that we would not live under tyranny and oppression. Honor them with me by the way in which you serve and worship the living God today.
Your brother in Christ,
Dr. W. Bruce Wilder