Sunday, June 28, 2009

I do…

Guess what? If you’re reading this on Sunday morning, June 28th, then I’m married! Pretty cool, amen? I’d be with you this morning for worship, except for that diabolical marriage tradition- The Honeymoon. You’ve probably heard that we’re in Panama this week, at a resort called Sol Melia just outside of Colon, on the Atlantic end of that country’s famous Canal. Our room apparently snuggles up to the Panamanian rainforest, and the Sol Melia runs kayaking adventures into a large lake upon which it sits. They bill themselves as an “Eco Tourist Destination,” which, unsurprisingly, got me excited. Then there’s the Panama Canal, the Atlantic Coastal Beaches, and near the city is the world’s second-largest free trade zone. Which basically means that I’m looking for deals on flip flops and beach shorts. Our honeymoon will be as much adventure as it will be long-awaited rest..

But the important part is that when you see me next, I’ll have a silver ring on my left hand, a new last name and another resident in our one-bedroom apartment. Pray that we find a bigger place soon. I want to take a moment to thank all of you for your patience and encouragement over this past year. Walking into a new ministry situation, with a fiancé that lived seven hours away, was a nerve-wracking possibility. I wasn’t sure how people would respond to her dropping in and out of our midst, to my being gone during weekdays so that we could spend time together, to the change in pattern that will happen now that I am living with my new spouse. All those questions and more ran through my mind as I looked for a church last year, and they were topics I discussed with the Plymouth Creek Search Committee. Graciously, that team was enthusiastic for Tabitha and me, and fully supportive of us doing what was necessary to maintain a close and life-affirming relationship. And then, once I showed up last August, and we met, and you met Tabitha, all remaining anxiety vanished. Over these past months, you’ve continued to support us. You’ve paid her numerous compliments, and kept asking me, ‘how’s she doing’ and ‘how many days.’ I look forward to Plymouth Creek getting to know her better, because she’s so full of energy and insight and power and grace. A great partner in life, I believe, and a committed Christian woman.

You may be wondering, “Well, she’s ordained and graduated, so what’s her ministry going to be?” Good question; we’re still figuring that out! As of this writing, she doesn’t have a job. There are a few ‘coals in the fire,’ but the ship ain’t moving yet. We are certain of few things, though. For starters, although she’s Rev. Isner, she isn’t called to congregational ministry. Perhaps that will change over time. But for now, we think her policy and analytical skills are more valuable to God’s future in a non-church setting, and we’re excited to see what kind of ministry that will be, however atypical. She will be a congregation member, of course, whose first and best contribution to Plymouth Creek will be keeping me sane, balanced and focused! Pray for her. Other than that, who knows? With all that’s going on in our lives, the move, the new routines, it will be some time before she jumps in to help with this or that class or worship activity. That is not her typical modus operandi; she’s quite good at jumping into the deep end. But we both feel it’s best to establish ourselves as a family, and build relationships first and foremost, before taking on other commitments.

This makes this summer and fall very exciting. We are about to encounter this world and our neighbors as something new: a family. And the possibilities that brings are more than we can count. I believe it okay to speak for both of us- It is an immense comfort to know that another family, our church family, YOU, will be with us as this adventure begins. And we very much look forward to what good that will bring for God’s good world. In all things,

Grace and Peace,

Shane Isner