My friends, here we are again. Didn’t we just meet to talk about how 2015 went? How are we already in 2017? I guess time does fly when you are having fun. And I have had lots of fun over the course of the past year working with you fine folks. It has been a year full of continued learning, growing, challenges, and affirmations. It’s the first time I’ve been back at working full time since moving to Richmond. And one thing is for sure- that takes some adjusting after being in school for four years. But, you all know how to help a resident out as she is adjusting to full-time ministry again. In fact, today (January 29) is the 5-year anniversary of my showing up at Tabernacle. Praise the Lord! 

2016 was filled with many things for me! One of the things that was not surprising to me at all was that I sure do love this job that I have been called to. As 2016 finished, I found myself reflecting on the past year and the year to come, and while there may be a lot of things up in the air as I begin to look for jobs, I am confident that working in congregational ministry is where I am meant to be. Thank you for helping affirm that over the last two years (and really, five years since I first showed up here).  

One of the things that was surprising to me was how much I enjoyed preaching this past year. In 2016, I was lucky enough to be able to preach a total of eight times in 2016- some planned and some not. But I found that with each sermon, I began to get more and more comfortable in the pulpit. Because of this, I know that as I begin to look for jobs, one of the main questions I will be asking is, “How often can I expect to preach?” Thank you for allowing this young pastor to have a space where she can learn and grow more confident in her “preaching voice.” The Church universal needs more churches like you to empower and affirm young ministers as they learn and grow. I will be forever thankful to you, Tabernacle, for helping me realize that I am not just a minister, I am a pastor. 

Now that we have entered into 2017, I have turned a corner mentally. I will begin looking for jobs on a more regular basis as I prepare for the end of my residency in May 2017. However, my intent is to remain engaged as long as possible with you all. I’ll remind you of my 4 requests from my letter of gratitude to you from our October business meeting. 1- Help me end strong; 2- Do not make the months ahead a long good-bye; 3- Begin to pray now for whoever is called to this place next; and 4- Remember who you are as a church. This are big requests for each of us, but I am confident that we can complete them together. 


Thank you, Tabernacle, for being you. To quote a couple of phrases from one of my favorite musicals:

 “But I know I’m who I am today, because I knew you.”

 “So let me say before we part, so much of me is made from what I learned from you; you’ll be with me like a handprint on my heart.” 

“ Who can say if I’ve been changed for the better? I do believe I have been changed for the better.”

“And because I knew you, I have been changed for good.” 



Much love,

Kristen Koger

Pastoral Resident, May 2015-2017

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