Pastor Dana Norton initially entered New Covenant’s doors in July 2018, the standard time of year for transition of United Methodist clergy. She brought with her Andy and their two daughters, Naomi and Anna. All four of these family members were quickly found by the congregation to be genuinely likeable and were fully accepted into the fold.
In her first sermon, Pastor Dana took time to introduce herself and her approach to serving as our pastor. She began with an energetic enthusiasm that I’d rarely seen at the pulpit before; then said something that I’ve never heard: “My job is to love you,” she told the congregation. “Your job is to decide where our church goes from here.”
Our minister has lived up to these words since day one. Her love is evidenced in her interactions with each of us individually and as a group. And although she is quite skilled at strategic planning for church healthy growth, she has also proved to be open, democratic and supportive in encouraging congregation members to take the lead in deciding and implementing New Covenant’s destiny. As a result, I can’t think of a time in recent memory when New Covenant has been as busy in following the lessons of Christ, especially the ones about loving your neighbor and helping those less fortunate.
I’ve attended this church long enough to have worshipped God under the guidance of all seven ministers who have had a turn at shepherding New Covenant. Every pastoral transition that brought us a new minister also came with a host of systemic, spiritual and cultural changes. A few of these transitions were a little bumpy, but most of them ended up becoming a true blessing for New Covenant’s life.
I’ve decided that Reverend Norton is one of those blessings. So I’d like to use this forum to thank God for her presence; and to officially offer my belated Welcome to our (relatively) new pastor and her family. We are glad and grateful that you are here, Dana.