Announcing My New Call

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Kensington, CT

I am excited to announce my new call to Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Kensington, CT.  Below is the letter I sent to the people of Faith Lutheran Church Gardner, MA.  My last Sunday at Faith will be on June 24th.  I am thankful and grateful for the support I have received from the people of Faith and I am looking forward to new adventures in Kensington.

May 8, 2018

Dear People of Faith,

It is with a mix of joy and sadness that I write to share the news that I have accepted a call to serve as the Pastor Redeveloper of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Kensington, CT.

In 2014 you took a chance on me as we came back to our home in New England. We shared in joy – celebrating baptisms and confirmations, marriages and new jobs. We shared in sorrows – celebrating the lives of the saints at funerals, talking through the difficulties of life.

We are filled with profound gratitude for you and what God has done in our midst. We could not have asked for a better church family and we are deeply grateful for how you have embraced each of us. You have shown us the love of God in many ways through your kindness, compassion, and understanding. You have taught me much about the Gospel, the love of God, and what it means to be a community of faith.

Katie and I have been praying about this decision and we feel God is calling our family towards this opportunity and we believe it is the right choice for our family. As a congregation in redevelopment, Prince of Peace is a great fit for my particular gifts and strengths in ministry. My last Sunday as the Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church will be June 24, 2018.

I want to let you know that this has been a difficult decision to make. You are wonderful people. My family has come to know and love both the community of Gardner as well as the community of Faith Lutheran Church. Together, over the course of the last four years, Faith has accomplished quite a bit. We have become more unified as a church, we have grown a deeper connection with Relay for Life through the survivors dinner, and we have built relationships with organizations in the community including AA, Gardner Emergency Housing Mission and many more.

While I will not be your pastor any longer, I am certainly your friend. I will continue to pray for you individually and as a congregation – and I hope that you will pray for my family and the ministry at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.

Thank you for the opportunity to have served as your pastor. I will always cherish you, people of Faith and our time in ministry together.

With my deepest gratitude and love,

Pastor Joe McGarry

 

Waiting

A Sermon for the Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost

Welcome to Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost. This sermon was preached at Faith Lutheran Church in Gardner, MA. The scripture readings for the day are Amos 5:18-24, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Matthew 25:1-13.

No-Shave November

My Article for The Gardner News on November 4, 2017

In November of 2013 I participated for the first time in No-Shave November. This is a month-long journey during which participants put aside shaving in order to raise awareness in cancer issues especially men’s hea­lth. I was inspired by a friends story of cancer. It was a story of courage and determination. It was a story that I have not had to experience but I see the effects of cancer over and over, and I knew I had to do something.

So over the course of the month of November I stopped shaving and I raised a few hundred dollars for cancer research.

Since becoming a pastor I have experienced many families who have had loved ones struggle with cancer, members of the churches have died because of cancer and I have had friends whose lives have changed forever because of this awful, deadly disease.

Recently a friend posted a video and he talked about No Shave November and inspired me to again put down my razor and to pick up the fundraising bucket to help those who are fighting this terrible disease.

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Do Not Be Afraid

Sermon for the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Welcome to the Tenth Sunday after Pentecost year A.   This sermon was preached at Faith Lutheran Church in Gardner, MA.  The scripture readings for the day are 1 Timothy 1:12-17; Psalm 86:8-10 and Acts 17:16-34.