What a week it has been filled with experiences and joy! It feels like a long time since I have come to blog. I tried to blog toward the end of the week, but the internet at the hotel was intermittent and I couldn’t pull up my site. Soooo, I waited to share all the wonderful joys of the week.
This week was the Great Plains Annual Conference. For United Methodists, this annual meeting is part business and part family reunion. Both the business and the family part is filled with smiles and snark, laughter and tears, anxiety and contentment and the push and pull of different understandings. This was the year we elected General and Jurisdiction delegates for 2020. Elections add a layer of tensions because these are the persons that will help make decisions about the future of our denomination.
Annual Conference is also a time of worship. This year, Rebecca Goltry Mohr was approved as a full member and ordained as an elder. On Thursday, she was introduced to both clergy session and the full annual conference.
On Friday was her ordination! What a joy it was to have 50 people from First UMC there to celebrate with her as well as family, friends and the whole of the Great Plains Conference.
Saturday began with a 5K
Then, after difficult conversations and debates, the annual conference voted to stand opposed to the traditional plan passed at General Conference. I do not know what that means in the long run, but I am hopeful for the work of being an open and inclusive church has truly begun.
The bishop “fixed” our appointments so Pastor Rebecca and I will return for another year of ministry.
Which brings us to worship today. This is the last Sunday in Easter and we remembered the Ascension of Jesus. This moment of Jesus’ departure reminds us we are called to continue to be on the move with Jesus and to be witness to all! In the service we celebrated Pastor Rebecca’s ordination and commissioned a mission as well has celebrated the Sacrament of Holy Communion. You can find the worship service in its entirety here.
I am grateful to continue to serve and to share God’s love with all.
Well, it has been a week! When I attended the Festival of Homiletics last week, I intended to write a blog every day. Instead, I wrote Tuesday and Wednesday. I still hope to have some final thoughts, but normally Sunday and Monday are for posting about worship.
Today, though, I want to note an anniversary from my facebook memories:
first blog is written and up! woo hoo!
It seems, I wrote my first blog ten years ago. Then, I was on blogspot, and then after a few years transititioned here to this site. My how time flies!
So, still blogging after all these years and my writing has been hit and miss. Recently I have been a little more disciplined about posting regularly and making sure I am sharing our worship service from First as well as a weekly prompt for our Year of Gratitude helps keep me diligent.
Which brings me back to “Jesus on the Move.” That has been our sermon theme for Easter and yesterday we honored our graduates an scholarship recipients. Not only is it a blessing to celebrate those who have graduated and to offer scholarships, it is a good reminder that no matter what stage we might be in our lives, following Jesus on the Move is never easy. You can find the worship here.
A new week begins, Jesus is still on the move and is still encouraging me and you to follow.
Today was a great day to celebrate women, ministry, and Jesus on the Move. On March 23, 2019, the United Methodist Women celebrate 150 years of their organization (by various names. We choose to wait and celebrate United Methodist Women’s Sunday on Mother’s Day. It was a beautiful day outside and inside.
Personally, it was fun for me to research not just the national/international women’s organization, but the history of women in mission at First church. While formally they did not organize into a “Ladies Aid Society” until 1874, as early as 1872 they were at work raising money and doing mission together. There was not enough time in worship to pull out all the “gems” I found, but it was enough to give a taste of all these amazing women have done for 145 years.
We touched on Mother’s Day as well, but acknowledged it can be a hard day for many. Knowing that there are many who grieve on this day for various, it is enough to say so and give voice to that pain as well as give voice to the love and joy.
Today’s worship service can be found here in it entirety. I am grateful for all the “women” mother’s grandmothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, friends and mentors who have been on the move with Jesus and made the world a more loving place.
Easter continues! On the second Sunday of Easter, if one belongs to a lectionary church, the gospel is always John 20: 19-31. This resurrection story moves from that first Easter evening to the next week. The author of the gospel recounts the story of the disciples experiencing Jesus raised from the dead. Thomas was not there and did not see the risen Christ. Thomas also said he wouldn’t believe unless he saw the wounds themselves.
I love Thomas and Thomas’ courage and conviction to not believe or just to go with the crowd and pretend to believe. Thomas was determined to find faith and have faith on his terms. In the television show, “Lost” Ben shares with Jack a thought about Thomas the Apostle. You can watch it here.
My sermon takes longer than the one minute of the video to witness to Thomas’ faith and loyalty and integrity. I am grateful every year I have a chance to unpack and proclaim this wonderful Easter story.
Today’s worship was simply wonderful. Our choir director Diane Fast is retiring, but not leaving. She is moving from being our choir director to our choir director emeritus and will be overseeing our choir scholarship fund which gives scholarships for students to be part of our choir. The music each Sunday is always wonderful and amazing, today it was outstanding.
I am grateful to be serving such an amazing community of faith and continuing to be on the move with Jesus.