Pastor's Page

St. John's Lutheran Church | 391 Mount Hope Road, Middletown, NY 10940 | 845.342.1963 | stjohnsmiddletown@gmail.com






June 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Every time I enter my office from the narthex, which usually happens about a dozen times each day, I am greeted by the black and white photograph of me hanging on the wall outside my office.  It is part of a larger display of the photographs of all thirteen pastors who have been called to serve this congregation.

Every time I see that photograph, I am reminded of the passage of time.  The photo was taken around 32 years ago when I first came to serve this congregation.  A little math will tell you that I was 30 years old when the photo was taken.  I really dislike looking at that photo, not that it’s a bad photo, but the photo reminds me of the passage of time.  I was 30 years old when I came to St. John’s, and now I am……62 (Ugh!).  I actually do not mind getting older, but do I really need to be reminded of that fact so frequently?

That being said, photographs are an amazing thing.  They do not turn back time, but they can capture a moment in time.  We have lots of photos in our home.  Many are on the walls, on the fireplace mantle, and on the piano.  Most are in over 40 photo albums that catalog the 38+ years that Barbara and I have been married.  Photographs help us to remember things that we might have forgotten, and especially remind us of the faces of those who have left us.  Photographs are a point of connection.

On Tuesday, May 14th, our third granddaughter, Claire Darling Rustico was born.  The baby is fine, and all is well, except that little Claire is about 3,000 miles away in San Diego, California.  One good thing, however, is that within minutes of Claire’s birth, her Dad sent us pictures of her to our telephones.  It was not as good a being there, but it was a much appreciated substitute.  Photographs can help to bind us together.

In that same spirit, I want to thank all of you who took the time, and made the effort to be photographed for our Directory.  None of us enjoys this, and most of us do not like to see photos of ourselves.  At the same time you made the effort to come and be a part of our 2019 Church Directory, and for that I am most grateful.

Those photos which are annoying to take, are very important to the rest of our congregation.  Our members use that Directory to help get to know who each other is.  It helps to bind us together.

The word we often use is “fellowship” which is the bringing together of brothers and sisters in Christ into a community of faith.   St. John’s is not a large congregation, but we are not a small one either.  With nearly 200 people worshipping on any given Sunday, it is unreasonable to expect that everyone will know everyone else.  Coffee Hour is a great blessing that aids in our fellowship, but even Coffee Hour has its limitations.  Not everyone stays for Coffee Hour, those who do often to not reach out to those you may not know (something to think about).  The reality is that most of you do not know all of the others that are part of your church family.

What is the solution?  Well that Church Directory surely helps.  Our members look at those pictures, and study those pictures.  It is a vital way to help us know who one another are.  For our new members, it is really a vital link in binding us together as a community of faith.

So I want to thank you for your part in making this new Directory a success.  Your commitment has not gone unnoticed.  We may not all like our photos, but they help to bring us together as fellow children of God, into this fellowship around the good news of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  “To God be the glory.”


In Christ,

Pastor Rustico +