Rev. Christopher A. Henry’s Reflections on Year Seven
February 4, 2018
Although it is my custom and preference to avoid clutter and minimize accumulation in most parts of my life, I am a sentimental stockpile, when it comes to calendars, to do lists, and emails. Our staff can attest to this – I keep them all. I still have, for example my ninth-grade agenda, reminding me that my Geometry group project is due on January 18, 1998. I wonder if Mrs. Ray would accept it twenty years late. While this practice might place me high on the scale of eccentricity, it does provide me with a wealth of information about where I’ve been, what I’ve seen and done, and the saints with whom I have shared this journey of life and faith.
In preparing for this opportunity to share a few of my reflections on 2017 at Shallowford, I scanned calendars and to-do lists. I searched through old emails and read the beautiful notes and cards that I have been collecting in my rainy day box. It was, indeed, a sacred and moving practice of remembering for me. In fact, I went a little overboard. I traced our journey together all the way back to June 10, 2010, when I received an email from a man I had never met. The last name was familiar from my involvement in the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta. The email invited me to have a conversation about the vacant position of Senior Pastor at Shallowford Presbyterian Church. A week later, I met Alan Rosselot at my favorite coffee shop in Candler Park and our journey officially began. My calendar tells me that three months later, on September 13, we met again at that same coffee shop and I accepted the call of your Pastor Nominating Committee to fill that vacant position. Most of you learned about this six weeks later, on October 24, when the congregation met to act on the nominating committee’s recommendation. And, on Tuesday, January 4, of 2011, we began this ministry together. My saved emails tell me that the first message I received that morning came from a woman named Mary Carithers, who wrote to welcome me at 7:52 a.m. on day one.
Each year since has brought blessings and challenges, growth and opportunity, new life and deeper relationships. 2017 was no exception – in fact, last year brought abundance in every form. You do not have the time or the patience, I’m sure, to listen as I recount every entry on the calendar, every check mark on the to-do list, every moment of divine encounter, every blessing, every challenge. So this afternoon, I will attempt to hit the highlights of our seventh year together.