A Message from Pastor Rich

Oh, Smoky Row!
You were continually in my thoughts and prayers as we were away at General Conference this past week. The speaker was Karl Vaters, a well-known author on small churches and small-church life. (And a pastor of a small congregation, too.) If you’d like to look over some of what Karl shared, a collection of his teachings at conference is available at
Multiple times throughout the week–in conversations, in workshops, in larger business and in worship sessions–the same thought would come into my mind about you: You’re doing so well. You’re doing so, so well.
I am so proud to be a part of our congregation. I’m grateful for the influence you have in our community, for your significant leadership role, and your activity in blessing people. I’m thankful for the ways we, together, strive to embody Christ where we’re at. I’m blessed by the simple fact that your presence in the world acts as an encouragement to others to do good. That’s no small thing.
But I’ve been wanting to tell you all this, too; I think it’s something you need to hear: I’m proud and impressed by the way each of you, as individuals, live out your lives these days.
You hang in there. You keep the faith. You sustain a care for Christ in your families, in your work, in the ways you volunteer and offer your time that have nothing to do with Smoky Row’s programs or role in our community. You resist sin, and stand for faithfulness. You’re a role model for me in all the things that you do, and I learn from you all the time how to better embody Christ in my daily life. Keep on keeping on. Don’t get tired of doing good; don’t give up: You’ll reap a harvest in God’s time. Thank you each for being who you are, and becoming like Christ, and thank you all together for being Smoky Row, a great church. Your future is so bright.
Peace ~Rich

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