Dearest Wintergarden Faith Community, 

Occasionally, you will receive emails that are titled “Keepin’ It Real with Pastor Devon.” These emails will be very specific in purpose, focused on something important happening at Wintergarden, and important for all to read.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read and respond if asked.

Pastor Devon 

MARCH IS A FULL MONTH!I just wanted to take a few moments to share some highlights for the month. 

Sunday, March 6, 2022
We started our Lenten season this past Wednesday with our Ash Wednesday service. This Sunday we continue our journey as we begin diving deeper in the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5-7.  During this season, we will be joining the adventure of Jesus…remembering it is a starting line and not a finish line. Through our adventure, we will explore what it means to become alive as followers of Jesus. Every day during Lent, we will have a devotional on Facebook for everyone to join in the adventure together. If you haven’t liked the church on Facebook, please do so. 

In addition to the Facebook devotionals, everyone is invited into the devotional from the Society of St. Andrew. SOSA is an organization that is active in gleaning to help feeding America’s hungry. I have just learned about this organization and thought diving into their Lenten devotional called “The Cup of Salvation” would offer a great way to engage our mission mission to feed people in our community and truly connect to ways we can become alive in how we live out our faith in Jesus. If you would like an electronic version of this devotional or an email sent to you every day, please click HERE to receive it. Paper copies will be available on Sundays. 

Monday, March 7, 2022
Last week, I found out that I have been nominated by the Alumni Council at Columbia Theological Seminary to receive an award. Columbia is where I attended for my training to become a pastor. They tried to tell me a month ago, but I didn’t see the email. So, I am still a bit shocked about this award, but am grateful. Here is a little bit about the award: 

On behalf of the Alumni Council and entire Columbia Seminary community I’m delighted to inform you that you were selected by the alumni council to be the recipient of the 2022 Columbia Theological Seminary Pioneer in Ministry Award! Your fellow alumni are thrilled to celebrate your creativity and commitment to small church ministry! We heard about the life-giving ministry first through Kathy Tessin. As soon as the council members looked into your church online, they all agreed. We want to celebrate the ways you have remained steadfast in your commitment to the church!~Julie Bailey, Director of Alumni and Church Relations If you would like to virtually attend the the award ceremony, I’d love to have you there. In order to do so (it is free by the way), you will need to click on this link: and register. Everyone is invited to join in around 12:30 for the presentation.  

Saturday, March 12, 2022
For the 2nd Saturday of the month, we will have our workday. We will focus our work in the garden. We have many different projects to work through to get ready for my installation service on Sunday. In addition to the work day, we will begin the 2nd Saturday of the month pottery sale from 10-12. And for those who love to get up early, coffee in the garden around 7ish followed by the workday. Hope to have your help for the day of preparation.  

Sunday, March 13, 2022We will gather for worship on Sunday morning as normal. But in addition to our services that morning, we will have my installation service. For some of you, this is probably pretty confusing because I have been around Wintergarden for almost 8 years. For the first 7.5 years of our ministry together, I was the temporary stated supply pastor. This meant we were on a year to year contract for our partnership. In August of 2021, our congregation voted for me to become the 3rd installed pastor of Wintergarden Presbyterian Church and Peace River Presbytery affirmed our desire to have me installed as the pastor. I have officially been installed as the pastor since August, but getting around to having the installation service (or big party as my mom calls it) has taken a little bit longer. On Sunday, March 13 at 4pm, everyone is invited to join us in the garden for the installation service. Members of Peace River Presbytery will be here and it should be a relaxed, fun, and experiential worship service. And the Reverend-To-Be, Ms. Kathy Tessin (our 2021 Seminary Summer Intern), will be joining us for the weekend and preaching the good word for the installation service. Hope to see you there! 

Sunday, March 20, 2022And the last major thing in the month of March is our Annual Congregational Meeting. For this gathering, we hope everyone will stay for the conversation and potluck. After worship, we will gather out in the garden for our meeting then for a potluck. Please bring a dish to share with everyone. The Annual Congregational Meeting will be a time for us to review 2021, share some hopes for the future, catch up and ask questions about what is going on at Wintergarden, and enjoy delicous food and wonderful fellowship.  

Then at some point the week of the 20th, Hemal Patel, our 2020-2021 VISTA Volunteer will come visit us with his family. And somewhere in between all of this, we are going to work on applying for the Sabbatical grant, continue our feeding ministry, explore a few more partnerships to help with feeding and loving our community, and wait with great anticipation to see what God has in-store for all of us. With all of this, I am going to take a week of vacation. I think the last break I had was when Kathy was here over the summer. Like many of us, I need to listen to the words I preached about rest for our congregation… maybe all of us need too! I continue to feel so blessed to be in ministry with you all and love seeing what God is up to in our community! In Christ, Pastor Devon