The author of the Book of Ecclesiastes quotes the “teacher” as stating “there is a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens.” 

The teacher then lists several examples of beginnings and ends. 

My beginning as one of several contributors to this section of the Bluffton Sun started in 2011. Bill Griffin, a passionate ad salesman for this paper, informed me within days of my arrival in the Lowcountry that part of my job as his newly appointed pastor was to submit articles to this paper. I think even he would be surprised that I have continued all this time, even now – four years since his death. 

So, with a mixture of profound gratitude and sadness, I now write this final submission after 12 years. I have been appointed to serve a congregation in another part of the state. So, the end has come for my time in the Lowcountry.  

Please know that I am humbled by the countless comments and messages that have encouraged and challenged me over these years. I will ever be grateful to Bill Griffin, B.J. Frazier, Lynne Hummell and Kevin Aylmer for this opportunity – and for their tolerance and patience!

When I first started writing, I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to share my thoughts on faith and discipleship with such a wide and diverse audience. But as the years have passed, I have come to realize the power of the written word to connect us with one another, inspire and challenge us, and draw us closer to the heart of God.

Through the pages of this publication, I have shared my joys and struggles, my doubts and fears, and my deepening understanding of what it means to follow Jesus in a world that often seems to be struggling. I have explored the mysteries of the Christian faith, shared observations of life, and God’s continued presence, grace and mercy.

I have been struck by how writing has helped me connect with you, the readers, in a way I never imagined. Through your comments and feedback, your questions and challenges, you have helped shape and refine my thinking and deepen my understanding of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.

I pray that these articles have been a source of encouragement and inspiration to you as they have been to me. And I pray that as we continue to journey together in faith, we will always be open to the leading of the Holy Spirit, who alone can guide us into all truth and wisdom.

With gratitude and love … always!

Pete Berntson is the pastor of Church of the Palms United Methodist Church in Okatie.