God is my conscience, Jesus lives in my heart… this blog is about what I see, what I think, what I do and how I serve God
An open letter to our Church Families of Christ and Worton United Methodist Churches
22 March 2015Posted by on
After much prayer, discernment and deliberation Bishop Peggy Johnson and the cabinet of the Peninsula-Delaware conference of the United Methodist Church are sending me to another missional appointment, and I have accepted this call. Effective July 1, 2015 I am sent to serve the congregation of Kingswood United Methodist church located in the Brookside area of Newark, DE.
As Debbie and I prepare for this transition, we are filled with excitement, joy, sadness, anticipation and a bit of trembling.
We are filled with excitement because in the last four years we saw God move in Christ United Methodist Church in tangible and wonderful ways. The church community is filled with energy and anticipation, striving to discern God’s Will for our congregation, diligently working as a team in order to serve God by serving the world in which we live. It has been four wonderful and exhilarating years.
We are excited for Worton United Methodist Church because we see a lot of potential and focus on ministry and outreach. You are Christ-centered, and strive to live out the Great Commission. Although your congregation is small, you make a huge difference in the community around you.
We are filled with joy because you have allowed Debbie and I to become your partners in ministry. I give glory and honor to God for your love, partnership and support. It was a privilege to be your pastor; you have allowed Debbie and I to share your journeys while we were together and you took an active interest in our lives; you prayed with us and for us, we wrestled with tough questions of faith and together we celebrated milestones and accomplishments in all of our lives.
We are sad and grieving because Debbie’s and my lives have interconnected with yours, and we became friends. You opened your hearts, minds, and doors to Debbie and I; you welcomed us into your church families and we will always be grateful for that. All of you have become a part of our thoughts, prayers and daily lives. When I was preparing for ordination, one of my mentors told me “grief is the price of love.” You loved us and we grieve the prospect of being separated from all of you.
We are filled with anticipation because we recognize how much has happened since Debbie and I became part of your journey. We expect to hear great things about both churches (Christ UMC and Worton UMC).
We are trembling because we recognize what an awesome responsibility it is to serve our God, and that with this move we will have to face new and different challenges, develop and nurture new relationships and rebuild our lives in a new context. While all these are joyful and exciting, they are also prone to induce anxiety. Preparing for this pastoral transition fills us with a sense of excitement, because we feel the presence and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in this transition. We look forward to learning the history and traditions of Kingswood UMC and the Brookside area of Newark, DE, to getting involved in the life of the church and the community and making new friends there.
In conclusion I want to add that I envision and anticipate hearing great things about you, and I know that you will continue to thrive and grow under the leadership of your next pastor. They are fortunate to be joining such a caring, welcoming, mission oriented, and God-inspired community.
I love you and I thank God for the honor and the privilege of living among you and serving you as your Pastor!
As we prepare for this transition, Debbie and I covet your prayers. In addition we ask you to pray for your incoming pastor, our Bishop Peggy Johnson, the current and incoming District Superintendents of the conference – (in alphabetical order) Rev. Dr. Shirlyn Brown, Rev. Fred Duncan, Rev. Dr. Vicki Gordy-Stith, Pastor Gary Moore, Pastor Derrick Porter, and Rev. Dr. Kyung-Hee Sa, as well as all the pastors and congregations who are going through pastoral transition at this time.
I want to close with the words of Paul found in Second Corinthians 13:11 because these words seem to express my feelings at this moment,
Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words:
Grow to maturity.
Encourage each other.
Live in harmony and peace.
Then the God of love and peace will be with you (NLT, punctuation added, aft).
Asher and Debbie