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A monthly blog by Rev. Dr George J. Koch, Holy Trinity’s Intentional Interim Pastor during our time of transition. Pastor Koch will provide spiritual leadership for Holy Trinity until the new regularly called Pastor takes office. In his weekly blog, Pastor Koch will discuss his thoughts on the Church Year and upcoming events at Holy Trinity.
Sports reporters loved Yogi Berra. A power hitter and one of the best defensive catchers in baseball, he played 19 years with the NY Yankees and served as their coach and then as coach of the NY Mets. His number was retired by the Yankees and he rightfully joined the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.
But it was his malapropisms that the reporters loved. Because he only had an eighth grade education, Berra’s pronouncements were often both pithy and paradoxical at the same time such as “It’ ain’t over till it’s over,” and “I really didn’t say everything I said.”
One of his most famous quotes is “It’s Deja Vu all over again,” that feeling that you get when it seems like you are doing the same thing over and over and over again. So, if this column seems like you’ve read it before, you have (to some extent) last year. The Christian Calendar is often confusing for Christians, let alone for non-Christians, who wonder how we come up with our dating system. Our calendar does not, as the secular calendars do, begin with January 1st, but rather prior to it by approximately four to five weeks. Nor does it begin on Christmas Day, the day we celebrate Jesus’ birth, but rather begins four Sundays before Christmas, in a formula that states that the church year begins on the Sunday closest to the feast of St. Andrew (November 30th). What that means – this year – is that the church will celebrate its New Year on December 3rd, the latest possible date it can be celebrated.
On top of that, the first day of this “new year” is not a celebratory title like “New Year’s Day!” but rather by the more prosaic “First Sunday of Advent.” It’s not even special enough to have its own celebration, but is, rather, one of four Sundays in Advent, a month’s worth of Advent to prepare for the remembrance of Jesus’s coming to earth as Mary’s baby (the word Advent is a Latin word which means “to come.”)
2018 will be a year of wonderful preparation and fulfillment. A year ago I told you that Assistant to the Bishop, Tim Roser would be meeting with the newly formed Call Committee to begin looking for a candidate. Now that search has been fulfilled and your new pastor will be here on January 31st.I want to restate what I said to end last year’s column: “While I do not want to understate the challenges that lie ahead, Holy Trinity has much to celebrate – both now and in the year ahead! You have been one of the happiest interim congregations that I have served since I started doing this work in 2004. Of the nine congregations I have served these last thirteen years, you have the following unique package of gifts that none of the other congregations have matched: 1) No debt and a well maintained physical plant; 2) adequate financial reserves; 3) worship attendance that regularly tops 150; and 4) a culture of service to people in need both locally and internationally.
To this list we should add an new organ, a new member class and mission trips to Guatemala and Tanzania in the same year!. Following God’s spirit, the spirit of the Incarnate Word, we will come into this New Year with great joy –because God has provided us with great gifts! Happy New Year, all!