Pastor Rob won't forget his first day at his new church. The two-day drive from Maryland to Illinois was trying, especially the second day. The radio was on constantly, and only turned off the few times Rob pulled the van to the side of the road so his family could pray. They arrived at the parsonage beside the red brick church building about five o'clock, to find deacons ready to unload the van and church members gathering for an impromptu prayer meeting. There were hugs and tears: hugs for the new pastor's family and tears for our nation. Rob arrived on September 11, 2001.
I thought about Rob often that week. I had finished 16 months as interim pastor at that church only the Sunday before. Rob's first sermon, an anticipated celebration, would instead address crisis. I wondered about the lasting impact the terrorist attacks would have on his ministry, on all our ministries.
"It depends on how close you are to the disaster area," a Salvation Army pastor told me. He had shipped in from Wisconsin ...1