"Hello" from the Pastor
Pastor Tom Forbes
We are all called to be God’s people and we will spend our entire lives trying to figure out just what this means. We do this together, as a community, seeking to discern the path we are each being urged to follow. Often, we can’t see the path until we stop and look back at what God has done in and through us. In my first weekend at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary we walked a labyrinth together and this idea took shape in my mind. As we journey through the labyrinth, we know where we’ve been because we’ve been there. We know where we are because we look down and see we are on the path—between the lines. But, when we try to look ahead, before we get very far, the parallel lines converge, and the path is obscured. We proceed forward, step-by-step, trusting that the path will lead us through to the goal. Where I’ve been: I’m a life-long Presbyterian and the son of a Presbyterian minister. I studied theatre at James Madison University; served in the Army; worked in the information technology industry for 32 years; and retired from Hewlett Packard in 2011 so I could begin my seminary studies. Along the way I married Alison Fain, an elementary school teacher from Louisville, KY, and together we recently celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary. We have lived in Martinsburg, WV for 34 years where we raised our two children, Jessica and Dave. We joined the Bunker Hill Presbyterian Church in 1998 where I served on the Session and taught Sunday School and bible studies. Along the way several members of Shenandoah Presbytery came alongside me to help discern God’s claim on my life. I am an ordained Deacon and Ruling Elder, and for the past 15 years, have served as a Commissioned Ruling Elder and now a Minister of the Word and Sacrament. Where I am: I have served congregations in Kearneysville, Piedmont, and Keyser West Virginia. Along the way I have walked with many wonderful people in joyful times and in sorrow, in births, marriages, and deaths, and in sickness and recovery. I am continuing to learn and practice the variety of ways ministry is done, worship and preaching, teaching, pastoral care, transformational ministry, missions, ecumenical relationships and collaboration, and spiritual disciplines. Where I’m going: With God’s help I will continue in ministry as long as I have the wherewithal to do so. Alison has retired from teaching, the children have grown up, and we are living the next great adventure of our lives together. Beyond this, the lines of our path converge, and I do not know where the journey will take us. I will trust God each step on the way and walk this path as I am led.
The Pastor's Corner
I have been your pastor for about three weeks now. However, Alison and I have been with you for about 25 years. I have spent these three weeks getting my feet on the ground, talking to the session members, and asking a lot of questions. My interest is to find out about the people and the ministry of our congregation. What I have found out is that there are many things I remember us doing years ago that we are still doing. There are things that we used to do, but for various reasons—mostly pandemic reasons—we no longer do, but we want to get back to them. And there are new things we want to try out and, with God’s help and your support, we will.
But mostly I wanted to find out about you all. I have heard that our congregation is the best kept secret in the Shenandoah Presbytery. I attribute that to the wealth of activities and ministries we have here.
One of the most important of these is the care we have for one another. We are truly a family. And an important part of this is the Shepherding List—the little flocks each session member has that keeps the family together. And that is important to me: I want to know you and know what is going on in your lives. Not to be nosy, but to be able to respond pastorally when you or I think that is needed.
Over the years I have found that to be the best part of ministry that I get to visit with you, maybe sit around the kitchen table, over coffee or something else, and listen to what you have on your mind. So, please do not hesitate to reach out to me as I will for you.
Each month I have an opportunity to share my thoughts with you in this little section of the newsletter. And I want you to find it interesting. So, please let me know the burning questions or the casual musings you want to see here.