I’m writing to you from the Jersey Shore, sitting on a porch just a couple hundred yards from the beach in Ocean City, NJ. Since my youth, three generations of my family have gathered for a week “down the shore” near the end of every summer. When I was a kid, we would often drive home from the beach on Labor Day, and then begin the new school year the very next day. It was always bittersweet to jump from the relaxed pace of vacation to the challenges and excitement of a fresh school year.
Throughout our eleven years in California, we’ve found a way to get back to the east coast every year for this annual ritual. One of the joys of our trip this year is that, after our week at the beach, I will have an opportunity to preach at Chesterfield Baptist Church, where my dad was pastor for 28 years. And then we’ll hop on a plane, come home, and I’ll get ready for seminary classes to start the next day.
It’s been a great summer at First Baptist of Palo Alto. About twenty of us had a blast going to see the San Jose Giants play on August 8th. I was a little worried when the game began and it was just the Satterlees, Pastor Rick, and I, but by the third inning, the two rows reserved for our group were packed with boisterous fans from FBC! That same weekend, our service in Mitchell Park was a truly wonderful experience, with five diverse Palo Alto congregations coming together for a truly unique and powerful service of worship followed by a shared meal.
As we enter September, I am happy to be celebrating my one-year anniversary with you. I remember my first Sunday last September, as I joined you for the worship service celebrated FBC’s 120th anniversary. It’s been a real joy to get to know all of you and to be a part of year number 121! And I’m so pleased that I have opportunity to continue working with the children and youth here. I don’t need to tell any of you that the youth here at FBC are awesome; getting to be a part of their lives is a tremendous experience for me. As we move from summer into the joys and challenges of this new year, may we all be open to the Spirit who calls us to times of rest and renewal, and then invites us to find new ways of expressing God’s love in our lives and in our world.
Doug Davidson, Minister with Children, Youth, and Families.