In just a few days, I will be welcomed back to Greenville. After nearly two weeks in Israel, I’ll be back home. I’ll be welcomed by a stack of mail, a list of ‘to-do’s’ and some smiles and handshakes from friends, children and parishioners.

This week, our friends from Cuba will be welcomed to Greenville. While here, they will participate in Sunday’s worship service, attend several social/ministry gatherings and be interviewed during our monthly deacons meeting. In this Sunday’s service, Javier (Cuban pastor) will be back leading in our celebration of communion. I hope that you will be here to exchange smiles, handshakes and hugs as we welcome them to their United States home.

Next Sunday, May 7, we will welcome many of our past interns home. Our church has a long history of providing space for young ministers to hone their faith and skills. Pastoral interns, ministry interns and music interns have regularly provided leadership for our congregation and received valuable experience from our congregation. On Sunday, May 7, Rev. Erin Spengeman Hutchison will be our proclaimer, and many of other past interns will participate in worship. A reception will follow the service. Please plan to attend both. Not only will this provide us an opportunity to remember and thank those who’ve served in the past, but it will also help launch future work in this area. Our Intern Committee, in cooperation with our staff, are dreaming and planning a more robust – but focused – residency program in the near future. This will require an ongoing financial commitment and philosophical commitment from our congregation. Seeing all these interns return – and noting their numerous and influential of places of service in the present – will be an inspiration for our continued investment in the rising generation of ministers.

It’s a time of welcome…and I look forward to welcoming you to worship this Sunday…

— Jim