Dear Church Family,

Greetings in the name of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ! Once again, thank you for your gracious and welcoming spirit as my family and I have moved to Midland and begun to settle in. My wife and I, along with our children, have been overwhelmed with the hospitality and love of the congregation of Providence Presbyterian Church (PPC). We are truly blessed to be here, and I count it a great privilege to live, serve, and minister here in Midland as the pastor of PPC.

In the adult Sunday School class, we have been talking about ecclesiology (the study of the church) and how we as individual members fit into the body of Christ. Our Westminster Confession of Faith says that the visible Church is "the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no possibility of salvation" (WCF 25:2). In the next paragraph, our confession goes on to say that "unto this catholic visible Church Christ has given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life to the end of the world: and doth, by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto" (WCF 25:3). This is what I love about the church and what I love about being a pastor. The Church has been given gifts from God for 'the gathering and perfecting of the saints.' We often refer to this as evangelism and discipleship. In other words, salvation and sanctification are gifts which we receive by faith, through the ministries of His bride, the Church. We grow as individual people and families, as we are built up in the 'body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and the knowledge of the Son of God to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ' (Ephesians 4:11-3). Therefore, there is no such thing as a 'hermit Christian.' A 'Lone Ranger Christian' is an oxymoron.

Spiritual safety and sustenance is found only in the Church. Outside the Church it is easy to remain immature, to be tossed to and fro by the waves and the carried about by every wind of doctrine, human cunning, and deceitful schemes (Ephesians 4:14). The Lord has made a covenant with His people: He has promised to pour out His Spirit upon them, and to put His word in their mouths, and the mouths of their children forevermore (Isaiah 59:20-21). We are so very grateful to be here at PPC and to be a part of the wonderful things that the Lord is doing for and through His bride in the gathering and perfecting the saints.

The Lord be with you!
- Pastor Peter M. Dietsch