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
Open Letter to Our Extended Family of Kingswood United Methodist Church in Newark, DE
25 July 2015Posted by on
Debbie and I want to take this opportunity to thank our extended family of Kingswood United Methodist Church for accepting and welcoming us into your midst. We feel thrilled and privileged to become part of such a spirited, mission-minded, and tradition-rich community. We appreciate all of your efforts to get the parsonage ready for our move, and for the welcome gifts we found when we arrived. We also want to express our gratitude for your hospitality, encouragement, outpouring of emotional support, and offers to feed us, to help us unpack and to do various tasks related to the move. Rachel and Leah (our cats) also thank you for the treats and toys you left for them!
Although it seems so far away, our physical move into Newark happened only two weeks ago. Your helping hands and welcoming hearts greeted us with graciousness and hospitality and enabled both of us to get off to a good start. As I write this letter, our offices are set up, both of us are able to work and we have made a good dent in unpacking our “stuff.”
As Debbie and I continue to adjust and adapt to our new lives, meet new people and make new friends, we covet your prayers. In addition we ask you to pray for our Bishop Peggy Johnson, the District Superintendents of the conference – (in alphabetical order) Pastor Shirlyn Brown, Pastor Fred W. Duncan, Pastor Kyung-Hee Sa, and Pastor Derrick Porter, as well as all the pastors and congregations who are going or preparing to go through pastoral transition at this time.
As humans, we like stories. We tend to become bogged down in our individual stories; as communities, we foster, cherish and wrap ourselves in our communal stories. After a while, these stories begin to define who we are, and when that happens, they limit our potential.
The truth is that our life is not going to happen in “my” story or even in “our” story as we know it. Our lives are going to happen in the future and “the future” is yet to be imagined and written.
Our Great commission is found in Matthew 28:19-20 and it reads, “…go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” The reason Jesus gave us this commission is so that we, the church, could better serve God by serving the world in which we live, and challenge ourselves and our neighbors to be the best version of what we were created to be.
The Great Commission unites us in common mission and challenges us to be bearers of God’s love and hope. I think that at the juncture of history and culture that we live in, our neighbors are seeking hope, meaning and reason to strive to better their lives and the lives of those around them. Study after study finds that our neighbors crave to see the Church that is united and energized by the love of Jesus for the purpose of being salt and light in the world. The Church Universal under the guidance of the Holy Spirit has been infusing lives with hope, meaning, and purpose for two thousand years; we have “some” experience with that.
As our community works to re-imagine what Kingswood United Methodist Church of Newark, DE will become, and to write the next chapter in our story, I pray that God will bless us to be a blessing to our neighbors and to all of God’s Creation.
And speaking of stories… the Great American novelist of the 20th century, Pearl S. Buck, said once that, “If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday.” In my efforts to imagine tomorrow, I need to take the time to understand today. To do that, I would like to learn about the traditions of our community and how we became who we are today. If you have any stories about the people of our community, old newspaper clippings, or any old pictures, I hope that you would let me scan them. I promise to treat them with the utmost respect and care and will get them back to you promptly.
Debbie and I are excited about sharing ministry with all of you and we look forward to discerning how God will use our community in the future.
Asher & Debbie