From our first step inside the church, we were greeted with such welcome and kindness. We continue to give thanks for the warmth of the congregation, as we think about our weekend in Auburn and now as we talk about moving to Auburn. Driving into town and noticing the college students walking through campus, seeing the orange and blue colors, and having a lemonade at Toomer’s Drugs, we felt the spirit of the town, as it was coming alive for the next semester. This was the prelude to our weekend, as we then experienced the spirit of the congregation.

The kind words and the beautiful worship service are unforgettable. I have thought about the light pouring into the stained glass windows, where we joined our voices together to pray and to sing. I have thought about the worship service, as the sections of worship moved from Our Faith Family… Gathering to Praising, Sharing, Proclaiming, and Responding. If our drive into town was the prelude, worship felt like the benediction, which is not a closing word at the end of the service, but rather a sending forth. We are sent forth to a life of faith. It is a window into the time to come.

The spirit of the congregation instilled in us hopeful gratitude for the time to come. Hope is one of the church’s words. Churches are places of hope, where we learn to begin again and again in the love of God. As James Lamkin says, we are “stewards of hope.” No matter where we stand, we always move forward in a spirit of hope, for the journey is shared.

We are thankful to share the journey with Auburn First Baptist, both the tears and the laughter. In these days leading up to our move, we are looking forward to the shared journey of faith. We are making plans and coordinating details, but we are also open to what is around the corner. We cling to the openness of hope, as we begin again, sharing the journey of faith.

Auburn First Baptist Church