Dear Friends in Christ:
Congratulations on your 275th anniversary as a congregation following and serving our Lord!
As part of your 250th celebration in 1992, you also invited me back, and I remember what a privilege it was to return to preach and renew wonderful relationships. I wish I could be back again to rejoice with you in person, but the distance and timing prevent our participation. Know that my wife Bobbi and I offer prayers of thanksgiving for you, for your faithful witness and loving mission all through the years.
We were incredibly blessed by our time with FPC. Those were such callow, formative years for us. I arrived directly from Princeton Seminary with much more enthusiasm than wisdom. But you and your predecessors embraced us with grace and patience and affirmation that helped us flourish. You gave us a baby shower and celebrated with us when our first child was born; David is now thirty-three and has made us grandparents twice. You encouraged us to stay in Lancaster, providing an interest-free down payment for us to purchase our first home. By the way, your assistance plus the sweat equity we put into 118 North Ann Street gave us a foothold into home ownership, now reflected in the lovely home we enjoy today.
Since leaving Lancaster in 1985, we added twins Rachel and Jordan to our family constellation. We lived in Pittsburgh 1985-1993 where I was pastor of Forest Hills Presbyterian Church. From there we moved to Cincinnati and Northminster Presbyterian Church. Two years ago I accepted a call to North Lake Presbyterian Church in central Florida.
This past march our current congregation observed the 25th anniversary of its charter. North Lake looked back and celebrated a meteoric rise from a new church development to an average Sunday worship attendance of nearly 1400 and a dynamic missional impact in the community. Several charter members were in attendance as well as the founding pastor, so we had all North Lake senior pastors present for the worship and reception on that day. At the time I pointed out that the church where I was ordained, FPC of Lancaster, PA, was exactly 250 years older. That put things in a healthy perspective. We are in this journey of faith for the long haul, and you have exemplified that.
I know you don’t have any charter members attending your celebration. Nor do you have all of your prior pastors, even those of us who are still laboring in the earthly kingdom. But you have been a light shining for the Lord in that city and region since the historic Great Awakening in the colonies. May you continue to fulfill your calling and be part of another spiritual awakening that pleases God and animates the coming generations!
Yours in Christ’s love,
The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey A. Hosmer
FPC, Lancaster – Associate Pastor (1981-1985)