mandag 27. oktober 2008

Moving to new pastures

This is the last time we move!  At least for a many, many years!
This is what we said to each other, my wife and I, two years ago, as we moved into the house we had bought.  Yeah, sure!

As I write this, I sit in a completely empty house, except for a telephone and a computer. Last Friday a moving company took all our belongings to our new home, about ten kilometers from here.  The reason we make the move this time, is that I have got a new position in the local church here in Os, just south of Bergen (Norway), and the house comes with the job.  

Most pastors in the Church of Norway are obliged to live in a parsonage.  About half of them think of it as a blessing, and the rest think it is a curse.  As for me, I was happy to sell our house. Not because I didn't like it here.  It's a lovely, quiet place in the countryside, near the sea and far away from the noise of the city.  But it was also a financial burden.  With an increasing interest rate and a a worldwide financial crisis, we realised that we had to sell one of our two houses anyway, and were quite happy to keep the other one, which is older and much cheaper.

In january I leave Bergen International Church to begin as a curate in Os. There are sixteen thousand parishioners in this rural municipality, with an annual growth of about 500 people.  We are three regular pastors here.  We have two main churches plus a few places where we hold services from time to time.  Apart from the ordinary things, like Sunday services, funerals and weddings, my main responsibility will be youth ministry.  Thankfully, I'm not alone in this ministry, as there are around two hundred confirmants to deal with each year. 

Even though I look forward to start my new job, I know that I'm going to miss BIC.  It's been seven great years! I've made many friends there, I've seen young people grow more confident in their faith, and I've seen people find Jesus and being saved, which is the greatest thing a pastor can experience.  My prayer to God is that the years ahead will be just as meaningful.