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Happy Anniversary

One year ago today, July 10, was my first day at St. Stephen’s as your newly called pastor! I am grateful for the ways you have welcomed and supported me and my family over this past year. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you and discovering unexplored parts of New Castle County.   


I remember the first time I went to visit someone in the wilds of outer Hockessin. My GPS successfully guided me to within a half-mile of her home and then ungraciously informed me, “You will have to get out and walk from here.” Of course, that was not true. Hockessin is as well-paved and well-developed as any other part of our great state. Since then, I’ve discovered that other map apps on my phone have no trouble navigating those not-so-backcountry roads, and a map scribbled on the back of an envelope is not as easily defeated by poor cellphone coverage or incomplete road data. If anything, this was a good reminder that the digital world will never be a fully satisfying replacement for human connection, actual relationships, and the ability to find each other in a complicated world.


Jesus famously said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matthew 18:20) Sometimes this verse is the encouragement we need to remember we do not need to be mighty in number to spread the love of Christ in our neighborhood. Jesus’ sentiment also explains the bonds that hold a small congregation together. At its heart, Christian community brings us together as imperfect, fragile people who very much need each other to make a go of anything, including re-discovering how God (who is Love) is present with us, helping us do things together that we could not do alone. I have experienced this almost every day of my first year with you.

We certainly have opportunities to learn new ways of being church together. It’s easy to forget when we look back over our cherished history, but the future is never exactly like the past. To be alive is to constantly adapt to new circumstances. No doubt, in the year ahead we will have many chances to rethink and redraw the map we are trying to follow as we seek to love, to invite, and to serve our neighbors.

I have always loved this prayer which has deep roots in the North American Lutheran tradition. May these words guide us in all that is to come:

O Lord God, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go, but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


Pastor Sue


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