Honor It’s Blessings

Contributing Writer
Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade, NY

In case you haven’t heard, there is a bit of a building project going on at the church I serve. The construction of the Future with Hope Community and Ministry Center is underway. So far we have completed the site work, poured the foundation, built the walls, and put the plywood sheeting on the exterior of the building. As we prepare for the trusses and the roof, the church building crew is tackling the next step on our to-do list: We are tying the new building into the existing one.

Tying the new building into the existing one is an exciting process that must be done carefully. Unlike the past phases of construction where we were working with empty land and new materials, suddenly we are forced to slow down and consider how what we are doing works with what is already here. While it might be nice to power through and simply throw up a new wall, the past bids us to stop and listen. Ignoring the call would result in many disasters.

As we analyzed the connection between the old and new buildings for wires, roof pitches, water runoff, and more, I found myself asking questions about more than simply the infrastructure. We are tying into the old nursery room. How many children have played in that room? It will become a hallway to our existing fellowship hall. How many of the faithful have gathered there for conversation before or after worship, ate a church meal there with their friends, or used the space to celebrate a significant milestone in their faith journey like a baptism, communion, or wedding? And more, who built those walls like we were building the new ones? What would they think about their wall becoming a doorway?

Suddenly I wasn’t simply trying to make sure we didn’t saw through an electrical wire in making our connection or that it looks nice when it is all said and done. I was to make sure we honored the past even as we built toward the future.

At this stage in our construction the old building is meeting the new, and with it all 58 years of ministry at Hope in Arcade are meeting the next chapter in our congregation’s story. For me, that intersection of space and time is sacred. As individuals or organizations, it is our principle job to look ahead, but not so much that we fail to recognize the past. We honor the past for the ways that it has blessed us and led us to where we are today. We learn from the past and the ways our history has fallen short. And we take that energy and those lessons and move toward the future God is making for us.

As you consider your future — perhaps you’ve recently graduated or gotten married or started a new job or simply feel ready for a change — remember to take a moment to recognize your past. Honor its blessings. Learn its lessons. It has made you who you are, and it may not be quite done forming you just yet.

For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.

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Pastor Shawn Hannon
Pastor Shawn is a 2010 graduate of the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, South Carolina, and he began his call at Hope Lutheran Church, Arcade NY that summer. While he spent four years learning and serving churches in South and North Carolina, as a Jamestown, NY native, Western New York has always been home. He is glad to be here. Pastor Shawn and his wife Carol Hannon met while attending SUNY Geneseo in the mid-2000s. They have enjoyed making their home together in Arcade with their daughters Quinn and Perry.   Pastor Shawn has a background in youth and outdoor ministry. He is a former camper and staff person at Lake Chautauqua Lutheran Center in Bemus Point, NY. He has also served camps in urban settings and oversees in Madagascar. In seminary he was recognized for gifts in Greek and New Testament, and in his senior year was recognized with awards in both Preaching and Biblical Studies. Pastor Shawn continues to emphasize the youth in his ministry, but not simply because they are the future church, but because they are the church of today.  He also enjoys working on service projects, and takes the role of planning meaningful and engaging worship seriously.  He loves helping people find ways to put their passion and energy to work making their community and other people’s worlds a better place. When he is not working at church, Shawn enjoys remodeling and construction projects around his family’s home.  But as busy as he gets, PS always has time for a quick nine (okay, 18) on the golf course. He enjoys playing sports of all kinds and fiddling with his guitar.