It is the way of the United Methodist Church in which . . . it is that season in June when . . . many pastors across the country prepare to leave for an appointment elsewhere, at another church. I am one of those pastors.
And so I say goodbye to the members of Crafton United Methodist Church in these last days before my new appointment starting July 1. With these often traumatic changes comes anxiety, sadness, and disappointment. This is the way of things when people depart from one another, when we enter the unknown. I am grateful that so many faced and embraced these feelings with me in the midst of so much change.
As I said in my last sermon at the church on Sunday, June 24th, “Crafton UMC is a David, a boy vanquishing the giant Goliath.”
Photos by David Maier
My letter to the members and friends at Crafton United Methodist Church . . .
March 18, 2012
Dear Crafton United Methodist Church,
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. Isaiah 43:19 (The Message) speaks to change, suffering, and hope. Brand new things call for change often coupled with the book-ends of suffering and hope. The desert, the badlands are in-between places taking us on difficult roads and treacherous rivers that lead to a cool breeze threading across the sky or can look like a goblet beaded with and filled with crisp refreshing water.
When I learned last week that the Western Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church was appointing me as an associate pastor at Ingomar Church effective July 1, 2012 change, suffering, and hope came to mind.
With this news some may be considering the road, the desert . . . the river, the badlands. I have served at Crafton UMC since September 15th 2011 for about six months now, struggling with all of you in the desert or the badlands.
I pray as I continue as the pastor of Crafton UMC during the next three months or so that God leads us through these times of change, suffering and hope, and that we grow and are transformed spiritually.
It has been a blessing to be your pastor even in our short time together. I am grateful for the loving presence and service of each of you here at Crafton UMC. May God continue to lead us on the paths, the road or the river, He has in store for us as individuals and as a faith community.