Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, After being with you for all of two and three-quarters months, I’m submitting my Annual Report for our Congregational Meeting. What on earth could I have to say at this point?! What came to mind (bear with me, please!) is one of my favorite parts of going to General Mitchell airport. You know, when you’re taking a flight somewhere, you pass the airline counters, up the escalator, go through security—emptying your pockets, putting your phone, notebook, wallet, Ziploc bag of liquid personal care items in the bin to x-ray—oh, yeah, your shoes, too (if you’re less than a certain age) so you can walk through the beloved body scanner. Then, when you’ve passed all the inspection, you grab your stuff and step over to my favorite place in any airport in the world (that I know of): Milwaukee’s own RECOMBOBULA-TION AREA...where you put yourself back together to continue on your journey. (I laugh every time!) That’s where we are right now—in our recombobulation area. Everything that you were, up until this past year, has been taken apart (well, not EVERYthing). We are in a place where things have been set aside, some lost, some on hold, some brought back (to a degree); some things are still humming along nicely. We’re now in the area to put ourselves back together; and this is a GREAT place to be! It’s great because we can be very intentional about what we pick up (the necessities of being a PCUSA church, appropriate traditions, etc.) and what we leave behind that is no longer useful or helpful or might hold us back for this next part of our journey. My part in this journey is limited; but you’re here for the long haul (I hope you’re so invested)! I can guide you only so far; but the future belongs to you…and the God you serve. Here’s what I’ve observed in the short time I’ve been with you: in the first two months, you have nominated, elected unanimously at a congregational meeting and in-stalled a new slate of elders (including a Youth elder) and deacons. At our second Session meeting, your elders eagerly took on the necessary committees chosen to address the needs of the congregation. Deacons have met to assign parishes within the congregation to connect more closely to all current (and future) members. (And, by the time this report is printed, deacons will probably have met again to make up for the meeting snowed out!) The budget has been adjusted to meet the current reality, with hopes of readjusting as we go, to meet changes. Regular ongoing staff meetings for church and VCDC leader-ship have been reestablished. Visitation of homebound members has begun (although, hampered by weather and scheduling), and (at this writing) two hospital visits. Seasoned and new elders and deacons have received current, updated training (some weren’t able to attend, but still registered to have the materials); and the 2017-2019 Book of Order was purchased for all elders who weren’t able to be at the training, so that we’ll all be up to date. I’ve been connected with the Presbytery—Ann Gibbs of the Commission on Ministry; our liaison, Bill Leonard and Stated Clerk, Christian Boyd. I have completed my background check, required of all clergy, as well as the Safe Gatherings tutorial and exam. My friends, this is all to say that we’ve started off well. We’ve begun to lay solid groundwork on which to continue to build. As I wrote in my Ventures article, I encourage you to talk with me directly about your thoughts and impressions of how things are going and what your ideas are. I’m learning more and more everyday about what it means to be PCUSA, and I’m so impressed! The path we follow, in “decency and order,” as have Christians since Jesus paved the way of the Church, is not always easy. But we do not walk this path alone. We are led by the Spirit of God—the same Spirit that brooded over the chaos and void from which the earth was formed; and we are held by the Grace of God as demonstrated by Jesus Christ, who showed us how far God will go out of love for us! God already knows what the future holds for us. May we attune our hearts and minds to listen and perceive where we are being called; and with all our will and might, work with God to create that future God has in mind for us! Amen! Pastor Claire, your sister on the journey.