This weekend, Immanuel welcomes Dave and Mary Ellen Bena back to our parish! Dave will serve as our Interim Rector through the end of the year. As our leadership discussed who our Interim Rector might be, our thoughts naturally turned to Dave. As a long-time member of Immanuel and former interim (just prior to my arrival at the church), he knows Immanuel well. Beyond that, Dave and Mary Ellen love the people of Immanuel. Yet, we knew that Dave had just retired (again!) and they had settled in New York close to their daughters. (Their son and his family live in Alaska.) We didn’t consider this a real possibility.
After the meeting the Vestry had with Bishop Guernsey to discuss interim candidates, the Bishop left our office. A few minutes later he returned and whispered to me, “I think Dave Bena might actually be interested!” The next day as I was meeting with Rich Garon, Bishop Guernsey called me and started the conversation with, “He said ‘Yes’!” Immediately these words from Ephesians came to mind, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21) To me and to our leadership, Dave’s willingness to serve as interim (and Mary Ellen’s willingness to move away from grandkids!) was a tangible sign that God was faithfully caring for Immanuel. This transition, though unexpected, was part of God’s good plan for our church and our ministry in the community. Once again, God was showing us that he is all about doing the impossible!
So this weekend, let’s give Dave and Mary Ellen a big Immanuel welcome! Please be praying for them as they get settled into their apartment and as Dave and I work for a smooth transition of pastoral leadership. Most of all, thank God for his continued faithfulness to Immanuel!