As I write this I have completed a little more than three weeks as your appointed new pastor at Claybanks United Methodist Church. The first three weeks have been an exciting time for Reba and myself. During this time I have been able to worship with you, present three messages and shared in communion as we have come together as Christ body. I have had a chance to meet with the Administrative Council at Claybanks along with the Trustees and the Worship committee. I look forward to additional meetings with other committees and groups of the church. I was blessed this past week to go with Edith Bogart to visit our members and friends at Heartland. It was great to speak one-on-one and get to know a little bit about them personally and share a small part of their spiritual walk with the Lord. I very much look forward in the months to come to spending more time with those that have graced our church and community for so many years. On Wednesday evening July 6th I was at the church and extended an invitation for you to come and meet the pastor, a number of you did come and we shared some time together and we got to know each other on an individual basis. I look forward to other opportunities during the coming weeks and months to get to know each one of you more deeply. While it is not a general practice in our today’s modern world for your pastor to visit each one of you in your home, I would be very glad to do so. Should you like a visit please let me know and we can make arrangements.
As your pastor I would very much like to meet your expectations as I am led to share the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with you, our church and our community. To do so I need you to help me to know when and where I can use my pastoral gifts and bringing the love of our Father, the peace of Jesus Christ and the guiding of the Holy Spirit to all. As I shared with the Administrative Council during my first meeting with them I need to know when and where my presence is needed. Many of you know who Garrison Keillor is and you should know that he has an extensive list of characters for, “Those People Called Methodists” and one of his characteristics of United Methodist is: “Methodists believe in miracles and even expect miracles. They believe their pastor will visit them in the hospital, even if they do not notify him that they are there!” While I believe that I listen for God’s voice and he speaks to me through a variety of ways, one of the ways he speaks to each of us is through the voices of others. Please feel free to contact me at any time to let me know when a visit, a phone call, or a prayer can be offered for those we love.
When I presented the first children’s message on Sunday, July 3rd I encourage the children to think of and share with me one special thing that they would like me to know about them. So that we get to know each other more quickly and more fully, please do the same as we talk and introduce ourselves by sharing something special about yourself that will help me get to know you not just by face but more fully in your person.
Let me close by offering one more of Garrison Keillor’s thoughts on a Methodist and which I shared with my Fennville/Pearl Parish when I was leaving them to come to Claybanks United Methodist Church. Garrison says, “You know you are a Methodist when it takes at least 10 minutes to say goodbye”! Let’s meet Garrison’s expectation by turning his belief around just a little and introducing ourselves by taking time to say “Hello I am _____________ and I want you to know ____________ about me”!
May God bless our time together, our sharing and getting to know each other through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Blessings and peace be with you.