A See You Later Reflection by Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton

As I prepare to take my leave for Sabbatical, I want to personally thank all of you for your support and trust in my leadership over the past five and ½ years. When I first came to the GRR, I thought it would be in an interim role. My plan was to provide coverage until a permanent Regional Minister would be called, and head on to other interims around the country. Little did I know that God had other plans for you and me. From the first moment when I stepped into the GRR, I was received with grace, kindness, and hospitality. We cautiously began to build relationships as you welcomed an African American Female Minister into your congregation. I remember my “on the road message” in Psalms 46:4-5, “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells, God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.” This is our story.

I remember walking into one congregation and a woman grabbed me and said, “Would you be willing to sing a solo for us?” I said, “Ma’am, I am not a singer, I am a preacher.” She said, “That’s okay, we will give you the words” (Blank stare)! It was a strange way to welcome me, but I carried out the task. There have been so many moments where God’s love has been and continues to be on full display over the past five years. From luncheons to dinners, to board meetings where you opened your church to our Regional Board, to fifth Sunday fellowships, singing the great old hymns of the church. We graced each other with no ill motives or intentions. This is our song.

We are three states, with one mission, “To REACH, TEACH and TRANSFORM lives through Christ’s love.” It is growing on us and in us. We believe God loves us and we dare to exemplify that love to others in good times and in bad times. We believe that this love is enough to transform lives. We plant seeds of mentoring and care to as many that will open their hearts to receive it. And so, my prayer as I take my leave for a little while, is that God’s love would continue to show up in your congregation, in your outreach, and in your meetings and fellowship groups. I hope to hear of your love in my absence and hear of the good things that God continues to do in the GRR. Praising our Savior, all the day long!

May the Lord God Bless You Real Good!