When Chris and I got married, we got a lot of comments about being young. We were 22 and 23 at the time. I look back and think, “yeah, we were kind of young at the time.” But we were high school sweethearts. We had grown up together, and we were more than ready to get married. We were committed to living out our lives together.
A few years later when Chris and I started looking for churches to co-pastor, we had it in our heads that we would only go serve a church, if we could see committing ourselves for 10 years in that particular church. I can’t for the life of me remember how we decided on the number 10. It was a good round number. And we moved around during the first five years of our marriage. We didn’t really want that any more. We wanted to be settled into a community.
Today marks 5 years of serving this church and community. A lot has happened in those 5 years. The stuff that happens in a lot of churches. Weekly worship with children sitting in laps or on the heating grates. Babies being born and becoming a part of the church family. New people being welcomed into the church family. Remembering friends and family members at memorial services. We are a community church.
And then there’s the stuff that is uniquely First Baptist Church of South Londonderry. And I’m not just talking about the fire that destroyed the church building 6 months after we arrived. I’m also talking about our church’s 200th anniversary. Or countless SERVE moments. I’m talking about that time that we invited all of our friends to worship last year, and the house nearby had a fire and we had to send everyone home. I’m talking about starting a whole new ministry at Stratton. We’ve had some pretty big things that have happened since we arrived.
We’ve been here 5 years, and to be honest, I can’t not see myself here in South Londonderry. I think that God has given Chris and me some roots here. This desire to stay for a really long time is grounded in our love for the people here and our commitment to serving God in one place. And powder days at Stratton. Just kidding. That's just a bonus.
Chris and I didn’t completely know what we were getting into, when we got married. And we didn’t completely know what we were getting into, when we came here to serve in South Londonderry. Things have happened in our marriage and things have happened in our church that we weren’t expecting. Some of those things that happened have been amazing. Some of those things have been hard. But it doesn’t change that I’m committed to my marriage, and it doesn’t change that I’m committed to my church.
Thank you for the last five amazing years! I am so grateful for your encouragement and forgiveness and love and help and fun. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for our future together!
This is written by Kathleen Blackey, follower of Jesus and co-pastor at First Baptist Church.