Hello Sharon Church Family, my name is Susan Lindblade and I am your newly appointed Interim Pastor. My appointment is rather unique in that it will be my privilege to serve your congregation twice as Pastor in Charge, first from 1983 - 1986 and now. I remember those days 38 years ago at Sharon with great affection and consider you to be the congregation who taught me how to be a good pastor. During my tenure, we built your Methodist parsonage in Aydlett and I have always been astounded in the way this congregation came together in a common cause to build this home, which was a final hurdle in establishing your place as a station church.
My husband, Eric, is also a retired United Methodist pastor. We have been married 42 years and have one son, Eric A. Lindblade, who was born a few months prior to my appointment at Sharon. Thirty-eight years later, he is now a Civil War historian, author, Co-host of The Battle of Gettysburg Podcast, ranked in the Top 100 History podcasts in the US with a following of listeners in over 70 nations around the world, and Federal Licensed Battlefield Guide at the Gettysburg National Military Park. He resides in Gettysburg with his faithful canine sidekick, Harper, and felines named for the Parks and Recreation TV show characters, Duke Silver and April Ludgate. On Valentine’s Day, he became engaged to Renee Steinberg, who is a branch manager for Adams County National Bank and lives in Frederick, Maryland.
I worked for four decades as a United Methodist pastor at First Church: Elizabeth City, Sharon, Hamlet, First Church: Rockingham, St. Matthew’s, Fayetteville, St. James, Newport, and North Raleigh UMC. All that time, with the exception of 3 years I took when I was on Leave of Absence to be at home with Eric A., I was in the faith and people business. When we retired in 2017 from North Raleigh UMC, we left the fourth largest church in this conference, 2200 members, 4 worship services, long hours, too frequent meetings, a constant workload, demands and expectations. So, it was refreshing to be able to enjoy home, travel, each other, and our family. It wasn’t long before Eric was called to serve two small churches in Goldsboro for 3 years. I was happy for him, but I wasn’t ready to do it myself. I would rise every morning as I always had, but to do what? At the end of two years, I decided to work part time as a Dealer Trade Driver for the Capital Automotive Group, Chevy and Ford, in Raleigh. Fun work, delightful people to work, but the something vital that was missing was a sense of purpose. My hyperactive life of four decades was all too leisurely. There are only so many times you can clean your closets, folks!!!!
You know the Farmers Insurance commercial when JK Simmons says in deadpan fashion, “We know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two.” Well, this entered my mind when your District Superintendent, David Blackman asked if I would be willing to help Sharon Church out on an interim basis. It occurred to me that I had retired from one job, but I still carry everything I learned in those four decades, every experience, every insight, and every ounce of wisdom. And all that equips me with an opportunity to be retired for that which is yet to come. And for the first time in a long time, I feel like the old Susan is back!!!
Sharon Church Family, Eric and I look forward to moving to your community on November 1st to begin this Interim ministry with you. Like the old Maxine Nightingale song of the 80's, “I’m going right back to where I started from.” God bless you and I look forward to getting to know this congregation again and to seeing how God will work through all of us to bring his Kingdom into closer view!! See you soon!!