After I retired I was asked to fill in for a pastor who was having some health issues. When she died the anticipated two month recovery period turned into a four and half year ministry. It was a small town church with a rural mind set. With an average Sunday worship attendance of a dozen, it was not just a small church, but a very small one. Everyone knew everyone. Everyone knew each other's parents. When it came time to remember people who had been a source of influence, it was quite common for someone to speak of the father or mother or grandparent of a nearby pew companion. It was and continues to be a community where the good and the bad are a part of the life shared by all.
I am grateful for this pastoral moment at the nearby Rocky Ford United Methodist Church. All my ministry I had been about trying to fabricate community through various program. As I stepped into my place as pastor in that church, I found the community I had been trying to create. Community cannot be created by a program. It may be facilitated, but it only comes into existence as people are willing to be transparent and accountable with one another. I am grateful that here toward the end of my ministry, I had the opportunity to experience it once again.