Herald of Good Tidings

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

“Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere.

Go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.”

So goes the classic Christmas carol as it reminds us that good news is meant to be shared. It draws its lyrics and message from the prophet Isaiah—another bearer of good news and promise. In Isaiah 40:9 the prophet wrote, “Get you up to a high mountain, O Zion, herald of good tidings; lift up your voice with strength, O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings, lift it up, do not fear; say to the cities of Judah, ‘Here is your God!'”

Admittedly, the owner of this newspaper is not a prophet of the Lord (though as one of her children I can say she was often right about how things would turn out and wiser than my childhood self was ready to admit), but she has made her mission sharing good news for all to hear—or read—through the Jamestown Gazette.

Her vision was a newspaper that was local, relevant, and uplifting. I distinctly remember her telling me at the beginning that the most significant rubric for deciding whether or not an article belonged in her paper was how it answered this question: Does it build up community? In a world, and particularly in a media and news environment, that is divisive, polarizing, and full of fear, the Jamestown Gazette has striven to be a herald of good tidings. And the reason she was so committed to that is because she is a champion of Jamestown and the surrounding area.

As she prepares for her retirement, I’m reminded of more Biblical wisdom that teaches us there is a time and season for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3). Transitions in life are sacred and by design—from the womb to the world and through every transition in our lives until this life transitions to the next. This moment of transition is another holy moment in both my mother’s life and for the Jamestown Gazette, and it is met with gratitude for what has been and hope for the future.

As my mother retires, I too find myself filled with gratitude.

I’m grateful for the wisdom and care she poured into me as her son.

I’m grateful for the inspiration she has been for me as she lived into her calling as a herald of good news as the owner and publisher of the Jamestown Gazette.

And I’m grateful—selfishly maybe—because she can never retire from being my mom. In fact, through time she has added more responsibility (not less) as Mimi to 10 grandchildren.

And you can be grateful too, because with or without a weekly publishing of the Jamestown Gazette, I know that she will continue to be a champion of this area and she will continue to hold the relationships she has with you all dear.

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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.