Pastor's Corner July 2010
I spoke with our District Superintendent for evaluations as clergy and to see how she can help encourage and resource us better in the local church. At the end of the conversation she asked specifically what I needed with St. Andrew UMC. I told her, "One More" year. I know we live in an appointment system that works one year at a time, and all I felt I could reasonably ask for was one more year. As I return from Annual Conference the appointments have been set by the Bishop and Cabinet, and I have, in fact, been appointed for "One More" year. I am excited to serve with you all for "One More" year. As we all know, one can be only one, or it can become a series of "One More" that turns into 32 (see Rev. Stamper at Burbank UMC before retirement for confirmation of this reality)
A few months ago I spoke with you in a sermon about "One More". We have many in our church and community who are hurting. I asked if you might consider taking on "One More". The next week, I pressed the issue a little bit more, and asked you to consider taking on "One More" per month. I said that would mean that some of you after a year of taking on "One More" per month would have a new circle of those you are caring for that numbers 12. Some of you might choose those you care for differently and at the end of a year have 0, because each of those you took on to care for were only hurting for a season and those seasons of hurt ended before the year did.
The core principle of "One More" is to help stretch us and make us more connected to our community, that of St. Andrew and our area here in the Santa Maria Valley. I wanted to share some goals I have to help get and stay connected with St. Andrew, the UMC, and the Santa Maria Valley. I hope to write to about 10 people per week. I will admit I set out to do this at the start of the year, and managed alright until about March, and since have only written about 10 people in total. I plan to resume off site (in home or in local establishments of Santa Maria/Orcutt - I hear I need to go to Jack's) visitations with the Congregation in August, September and October. I completed about 1/3 of the congregational visits last year, and I am striving to get close to 100% by the end of 2010. I also acknowledge that I am connected to my clergy peers. We participate in a clergy covenant, and I realize that one of the deepest needs in that covenant is to establish regular care for one another. To that end I plan to contact 2-3 different clergy each week, by phone, email or as some of those 10 letters per week, with a desire to say, "How are you? I am thinking of you and I am praying for you."
Caring for one another is part of the basic commandments we received from God, and reminded to us in Jesus Christ. We are to love God, and love neighbor as self. The kicker for me is that little nudge that says that we do not know how to love, except in the love that we receive from God. If we love, we love God. If we love God we by very nature then must love neighbor. If we do not love neighbor, then we have no ability to love God. If we do not know God, we have no knowledge of how to love neighbor. In this way, let us begin our care for one another and God simply by loving.
I am grateful for the love that you all have shown Anna, Sophia and me. We know your love for us, and I pray you have know my love for you all. I know you have experienced Sophia's love for you. And while Anna is busy loving her own congregation, her love for you is growing by the day, in appreciation for your care of us, and concern for her ministry at Christ UMC. We are grateful to have "One More" year among you in ministry. May we each, together, seek out "One More" to provide care in the months ahead.