Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Entering into a New Season

During this time of waiting and preparation (an early Advent?) since moving back to California from Washington, DC as I prepare for the new beginning in Quincy, CA, I have been reading Jane Myers Perrine's book, The Welcome Committee of Butternut Creek which my mom recommended to a friend and me.  The book is about a young, 25 year old first time pastor, Adam Jordan arriving to the small town of Butternut Creek, TX to become pastor of the Christian Church.  However, Adam is gruffly greeted by Miss Birdie, the pillar of the church and head of the Widows, with her sidekick Mercedes.

See, Pastor Adam arrives with minimal essentials, no furniture, doesn't know anyone, and a broken down jalopy of a car.  Everything changes before long and before you know it, Pastor Adam has furniture, makes new friends, and also seems like he is always at odds with Miss Birdie, even though it will be evident in the book how each one really comes to care for the other.  It also shows that as gruff and tough Miss Birdie is on the outside, she really does have a heart of gold.  In addition, the Widows' official role is to try and play matchmaker, as no young man should ever be single in their eyes.

A subplot of the book also  focuses on Sam Peterson, a nephew of one of the widows who passed away who moves into her house.  Sam was injured in combat in Afghanistan and we see some of the flashbacks to when he lost his leg, but also dealing with his own emotional issues.  But we also see transformation in him throughout the entire book when he meets Willow Thomas, his physical therapist and her two sons after they break his sliding glass door and perform jobs to pay it off.  The Widows also try to meddle with Sam and Willow, which may be their only success early on, but we will find out more in the rest of the series (The Matchmakers of Butternut Creek and The Wedding Planners of Butternut Creek).  In many ways, I think a lot of us can relate with one or more of the characters in this book.

While I hope to read the rest of the series as I get to read a lot more for fun, I also can relate on so many levels with Adam, being relatively young at 35 (36 in August) and single (which I also note is by choice in my case), as well as moving into a small town to pastor a church for the first time, as Quincy's population is less than 5000.  It will be an adventure entering into this new season, crossing a new threshold, and making new discoveries and new adventures along the way.  Thankfully in my interactions with some of the people of Community United Methodist Church, I have received a warm welcome and am also receiving meals from the women of the church my first few days when I move into my house on Tuesday morning.  But what will the rest of the new season look like as we prepare to cross this threshold together?  Where will we show love and grace to each other, even when that love may mean tough love?  Where will we learn and grow from each other just as Pastor Adam and Miss Birdie did?  It is indeed an exciting new season we are entering and look forward to the new adventures ahead!!

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