Pastor Hagen's Message to the Congregation, 4/19/2021
I remember when I was a junior in high school back in New Jersey. My dad had been told that the company he worked for was being sold and if he wanted to continue working for the new company, he would have to pack up and move to St. Paul, MN. As I have mentioned many times in the past, throughout my years growing up, my family moved from one state to another, following my father's job opportunities. Moving had always been an adventure to me. It opened up new experiences and an opportunity to meet new people. It also drove our family closer together. Moving is not easy and saying goodbye to friends is even harder. The one thing that we could rely on through it all, was our family would always be together. So, off we went to a new part of the country and into a new future.
But New Jersey was different. We had been there for five years. Five years doesn't seem that long, but it was over twice as long as we had stayed in any other place we moved to. Those five years represented my time in Jr. High, yes back then there was a junior high, and all but my last year of high school. The summer before I started my senior year, I had to once again say goodbye. But this time was different. I had made friends. I had put down roots. This one hurt. I would not have my picture in the high school year book. I would not play on the varsity team. I would not be going to prom or graduating with my class. All the kids I knew and liked would move on and I would not be one of them.
The move to Roseville was not bad. I graduated from Alexander Ramsey High School with honors, but without friends. The year book has my name listed, but not my picture. In fact, there are no pictures of me during my senior year in the 1974 Rams yearbook. After graduating, I attended the UofM and pretty much stayed to myself. Denise helped me through that time more than she knew. I had met her at church and she gave me permission to get close to someone again, without pressuring me. I don't know if God led my family from New Jersey to Minnesota just so I could meet Denise, but I do believe God blessed our friendship and allowed it to grow into a life long love.
I say all of this because I am in New Jersey again. It is time to move on. There are new opportunities ahead for me and my family and for Elim. I believe God is behind this move and there will be blessings because of it. Twenty-five years is a long time and we have made many friends. Moving on is not easy and saying goodbye is even harder. But I guess this is as it should be.
There is one thing I would ask of you as we depart from each other. As the interim pastor begins and eventually you call your next pastor, please don't allow my shadow to hang over the ministry of Elim. God had a plan and purpose for our time together. It was the right thing and it challenged us to stay faithful to where God was leading. But, there is a new day coming and with it will come new ideas and new directions. Please do not let the words; "But that's not how Pastor Hagen did it" cross your mind when changes are proposed. The only question should be; "Is this of God?"
Denise and I, Anne and Keith, Ronen and Brychan all say thank you. If in some was we were a blessing to you, give God the thanks. If somehow we hurt you, please accept our deepest apology and we ask your forgiveness. I have been asked many times what I mean when I say;' "Live Victoriously". And that is it. It is Jesus' new commandment that we love one another. We have felt your love for us and we hope you know you will always have our love.
So, here we go. For one last time remember,
Jim, Denise, Anne, Keith, Ronen and Brychan.
Pastor Hagen's Messages
April 18, 2021 Pastor Hagen speaks on Luke 24:36-48
April 4, 2021 Easter Morning, in Mark, We are the Ending of the Story
Sunday, April 11, 2021 Pastor Hagen speaks on John 20:19-31