One of the things I love about Bethany Church is the gift of hospitality. When the CrossWalk Community mission congregation joined Bethany in 2008, one of the leaders of Bethany, joyful to welcome a group of newcomers, even suggested changing the name of the church. Every time we welcome someone new, we change. And that openness to change, to the stranger and guest, is a spiritual practice that marks the people of God.
Leviticus 19:34 The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God.
Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it.
Matthew 25:40 Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.
Romans 15:7 Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.
Moving into the future, I want to encourage you to continue your practice of hospitality. Welcome guests who come to us in worship. Welcome your new pastor, "PD", and his wife, Jean, and so give him the space to not only be your pastor but become your pastor. And continue to support the Safe Access project, which has made our building fully accessible, fully prepared to welcome everyone. We still need about $45,000 to retire the debt on that project.
I will miss all of you, miss the partnership we share, miss the joyful laughter, the silly jokes (thanks Curvin!), the focus on our mission, the effectiveness in ministry. Thanks again for welcoming us crazy Bohanans into your lives, for feeding us, for praying for us, for sharing the journey of discipleship and ministry. We love you!