I want to thank all of you for the many cards and calls and prayers that have been mailed, given and lifted. Also I cannot thank Don, Deb, Becky and our entire staff enough for having my back. I’d love to give you a timeline of my return, but one of the things this first major surgery of my life has taught me is that I am not in control of that right now.
While I’ve been recovering in the last two weeks, two things have happened in the life of EPUMC that illustrate, at least for me, how we at EPUMC have embraced “Living in God’s Kind of Time.” The outcome of the Special General Conference and the announcement of the intention of Bishop Ough to appoint Becky Jo Messinbrink as the pastor of EPUMC on July are significant events. Both these events will shape the future of EPUMC. As we used to ask…. "What is that?"
I hope by now that you recognize that there is an answer to the question, “What is that?” and that the answer is “The Holy Spirit.”.
Last year in our study of the Holy Spirit, one of the most important things we learned was that this presence of God in our present moment is not something we control. Last year we learned that faith often boils down to “Opening Ourselves to the Holy Spirit.” The last two weeks illustrate that it is now a part of our DNA as a congregation to rally, to support, to have each other’s back and trust the leadership of our congregation to step up even as I as your pastor begin to step down, one step at a time.
Today is a day to recognize that God’s presence is with us and is also leading us in this time of change both in our congregation and in the United Methodist Church. We do not now know what will happen to the UMC. We do know that EPUMC will continue to be a place that welcomes all and especially embraces being a part of the LGBTQ movement. Also now there is a name, a person to have in our mind and keep in our prayers, Becky Jo instead of a phrase, “the new Pastor.” It is important to claim these smaller moments to be encouraged for other challenges to our vitality and mission that await us.
Let’s all embrace our place in this wonderful community called EPUMC. We have been prepared we are ready for whatever happens in the weeks and months and years ahead!
Keep the Faith,