Reflections of an Intern
If you have had the opportunity in the last few months to attend worship either virtually or in-person at First Presbyterian, you may have had a glimpse of me participating in various ways. Since September, I have had the gracious opportunity to serve as your pastoral student intern, and I wish to offer my deepest and warmest Christmas greetings to you this holiday season! With academic responsibilities winding down for the calendar year and after having the dust settle around me following a recent move, I have taken the last couple of days to reflect on all of the blessings that have come about for me this year. Of course, this is a year in which none of us expected, mostly regarding the ongoing pandemic. It is clearly evident that the effect of the virus’ manifestation has rattled social, economic, cultural, and religious establishments of normalcy to their core. But yet, resilience abounds, even through all of the setbacks and adversity, blessings and good things still persist in the midst of it all. And it is within these blessings of which are made clear to me the blessing of having the chance to be a part of an inspiring ministry found at the corner of Innes, Fulton, and Fisher Streets.
When I found out that I had the chance to be an intern at FPC this year, I was both excited and nervous at the same time. Coming from a small country PCUSA church on the northwestern fringe of Rowan County, I’ve not had very much exposure to a larger congregational setting. Even stepping inside the sanctuary and Lewis Hall for the first time, my initial reaction was: “Wow, this place is so big!” I’ll honestly admit, I was worried that the church would be big enough to possibly be too overwhelming for me. But yet, after the experience the internship has brought forth these last couple of months, I can affirm this: Buildings aside, the biggest thing about this church is its heart. And perhaps the largest indicator of this is through the people who bring this church to life, the worship and church leaders, members participating in both in-person and/or virtual opportunities, and every reader of this blog post. To have to opportunity to have Pastors Lara, Josh, and Randy as mentors through this experience has allowed me to both build on my practical learning and cultivate personal growth ministerially and theologically. And for certain, they truly are mentors in every sense of the word. I’ve also had the blessing to interact with many in the congregation through greetings on Sunday mornings, leading Everyman’s Bible Class, seeing online posts of welcome and encouragement from virtual attendees, and so much more! God’s presence overflows in the people of FPC, and I have seen firsthand the many ways in which the Spirit has worked and flowed here, even (as especially) in the midst of the pandemic and 2020 in general.
I take this opportunity to offer my deepest appreciation to each person who helps in their way to make up what all FPC truly is for the experience I’ve had here as an intern so far - for all of the meaningful opportunities to be a part of the services, to be immersed in a larger church setting, and most of all, to be welcomed with open hearts and a hospitable nature in which has made me cherish my time here this fall. While I have opted to take the academic winter break to rest, read, refresh, and enjoy family, I am highly looking forward to my return to involvement at FPC in the spring. In looking ahead towards the spring, my FPC mentors and I have discussed exciting new ways for me to interact even more with the congregation extending beyond consistent involvement in worship. I am committed to being both creative and open-minded as I look forward to my internship experience in 2021, and I can’t wait to potentially have the chance to meet with and interact with even more for the congregation and FPC family in the upcoming year!
In whatever way you are enjoying the holiday, I offer to you my most sincere greeting and well-wishes for an enjoyable and safe holiday in which the true meaning of Christmas remains in the form of the Christ child. As the songs say, may your “days be merry and bright” during this season, and I pray that you will find warmth both physically and spiritually as this year comes to a close and the new one begins.
And of course, thank you again for making this intern feel welcomed and at home within a church community of which is truly a wonderfully pleasant place to be.
Lucas R. Safrit
Pastoral Student Intern
WFU Divinity School Class of 2021