Dear Riviera Family,
One of the definitions of living is change. And a healthy living church lives through change and constantly adapts and moves in to its new realities. This past year several members of our church moved to new cities and as we grieved their departures we also wished them well and gave thanks for our time together. Staff members change as well. The past several years we have welcomed, re-welcomed, and said farewell to Music Directors and wonderful substitute musicians and each one of them brought skills and abilities that we have enjoyed. As Lent starts in March, we will say goodbye to Jade Kastel and welcome Walter Busse as the new Director of Music of Riviera Church. We will tell you more about Walter in the March newsletter, but I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Jade for being our interim and for helping us as we searched for a permanent staff person. Jade came right in (again) and took the helm of the choir and the newly formed ukulele ensemble. She brought a rich diversity in music and I will always remember the Sundays in this past Advent as the choir sang the Introit ‘Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord’ and it grew in sound, instruments, and vitality each Sunday as we neared Christmas. Jade, we thank you!
Unlike some years when it seems we jump right from Christmas into Lent at church, this year we have an especially long season of Epiphany. With eight Sundays after Epiphany before Lent it means that I have the opportunity this February to preach on a few lectionary texts we normally do not have in our three year cycle. We will wrestle with the concept of heaven, Jesus’ charge to love our enemies, as well as have a service where we ‘Bless the Animals’. I hope you will make worship a priority in your faith discipline as worshipping in a community is the foundation of who and what we are.
People often ask what I love about being a pastor of a church. It is you. Riviera is a very special place. People feel it when they come here. There is a love and a spiritual energy that permeates our congregation. Yes, we are a mission driven church, and yes, we are a progressive Christian voice in South Florida, but more importantly we are a church where people are loved.
In Gratitude and in love,