The induction service itself was wonderful. In addition to a church full of Armadale and West Lothian Presbytery folks, there were two coaches that arrived -- one with St. Anne's members and one with Abercorn, Winchburgh, and Kingscavil members. It was very moving for me to see representatives from 5 congregations present. I have been blessed with the people I have come to know in the past year. We laughed together during the service, then shared again in the vows of induction -- promising to serve God as we work together in ministry.
Then came Sunday, my first as the pastor to the parish. Once again, we laughed and sang and prayed together. The rounds of meetings have begun for me -- meeting people in the street when we are out, meetings at the church as I get to know the workings of this particular church. Even after a year of familiarization, there is still much to learn. While I got the general picture before, now I am learning the specifics of this place and time.
This is not only a time of saying hello. It is also a time of saying goodbye. For the first time in my life, I am not a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA) or its predecessors. I am not certain that this has sunk in completely yet. This is now my home and the Church of Scotland is my church -- yet there is part of me that still (and will probably always) carry my roots with me. How can I not? I was shaped into who I am by what I have known. That will not change.
It is time now to venture out into the dreich (translate gray, rainy, and cool) day to the church's Thrift Store, one of the services we provide to the community. I want to see how it all works and to visit with the workers and the shoppers. They tell me I will also be able to have some coffee and "home bakes" while I am there. It is all part of coming to know and becoming known to this new community that is now my home.