Greetings! I am so excited to coming to the Conrad and Beaman churches. I have come to love rural churches and their people. My parents grew up on farms, and although we lived in the Twin Cities we would visit often and I really enjoyed my time there. Then as an adult I spent 13 years as a propane salesman and delivery person. As you can imagine I met quite a few farmers during that time. It is my feeling that this was God’s way of preparing me to serve as a pastor in rural Iowa. So I come with a love of God, a love of the people, and a love of the Church. And I am excited to be coming to you.
I would like to take a few minutes to introduce my family, since you probably won’t meet them during my stay here. My wife is Terra and on August 11th we celebrated our 44th wedding anniversary. Terra is the pastor of the Mount Vernon UMC and on the days I’m not here, that is where I will be. She is also a gifted musician who plays piano and flute. She is the love of my life. Our son is 40 and lives with his wife Laura and their children, our most wonderful grandchildren, Elliot (9) and Abigail (11). They live in Cedar Rapids and so we get to see them quite often and it is wonderful. Aaron is the Director of Development at the Willis Dady homeless services in Cedar Rapids. Before that he was the director of Groundswell Café. A pay it forward café connected to Matthew 25 ministries in Cedar Rapids. His wife Laura is an American Sign Language Interpreter.
By now you have probably heard that I will only be here for one year. This of course is not ideal, but as I will be retiring next year, that is what we are stuck with. The truth is that in the year to come we can accomplish a lot. We can continue to be the church where we worship God, care for one another, our communities, and the world. And we can work hard in preparing these congregations for the next pastor to come. I also want to address the fact that I won’t be here every day. I will be here Sunday through Wednesday and then be in Mount Vernon Thursday through Saturday. Thursday I will work on my sermon in Mount Vernon. Again, this is not ideal but it will allow me to give my total attention to the congregations on the days that I am here.
Let me repeat, I am truly excited to be coming to the Conrad and Beaman churches. I am praying that God will bless our time together and that great things will happen. May it be so.
Blessings, Pastor Jay