Pastor's Blog

August 2017

What’s Your Story?

Behold, I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine (Isaiah 43:1)

This is one of my favorite passages of scripture. God has called us by name, claimed us as God’s own, and has redeemed us, saved us, for new life!

I am so excited to begin my ministry among you at Christ and Simpson UMCs! Although my “official” start date is July 1, I have had the opportunity to meet some of you already, and to tour the beautiful buildings you inhabit. I am working on my first worship services for July 2, and am so looking forward to sharing worship with you!

Transitions are hard! I am sure you know this, but transitions can also be exciting and fun. One of my favorite things to do is to hear people’s stories, and church’s stories. In our first weeks together, I will be doing as much as I can to get to know you better – what is your vision for the church? How has God worked in your life thus far? What do you expect God to do in the future? What excites you about being a part of Christ Church?

The Hebrew Scripture lessons for the months of July and August focus on the stories of the Hebrew people in Genesis, and specifically on Joseph and Jacob, of Rachel and Leah and Miriam. How do their stories parallel your story? How can we learn about who God is through these faithful, flawed, passionate people?

I invite you to stop by my office at Christ on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, or at Simpson on Thursdays. Give me a call or text to let me know you’re coming – I also want to learn the stories of your neighborhoods, so I might be out and about.

If you can’t come by, or even if you can, do me a favor and leave me an index card with answers to these questions (my own answers are below), with your name, or text to me at 216-509-4229 with a picture! Names are hard for me, so please be patient – God has called you by name, and I want to as well.

1. What’s your favorite passage of Scripture?

2. Who is in your family?

3. What do you like to do for fun?

4. What’s your favorite thing about church?

5. What’s the last good fiction book you read? (bonus – last great movie you saw?)

6. What’s your favorite hymn/worship song?

My answers:

1. Isaiah 40:30-31 (but Isaiah 43:1-7 and 1 John 4:7-21 are also right up there, actually there are too many more!)

2. I have three children – Louis (18) who will be attending the Cleveland Institute of Art, Glennis (16 on July 21) who is a rising junior at Heights High, and Estelle (13) who will be in the 8th grade at Roxboro Middle School in Cleveland Heights. I also have three cats (Lucky, Tumnus and Ezri) and two dogs (Dunstan and Fenway). Fenway is training as a service dog so you will see him around!

3. I love spending time with my kids and being outside – hiking, running, walking, playing sports. I’m a Red Sox fan and an Indians fan. I love to read!

4. I love pretty much everything about church and have since I was a little kid growing up in a small town outside Boston. But the best part is being with a community who loves God and loves others.

5. I really enjoyed A Man Called Ove. We just watched Wonder Woman, and that was fun!

6. Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing has the best line of any hymn, in my opinion. I also really like Every Praise, and Gather Us In, and, well, there are too many of these too!

I’m looking forward to being in ministry with you! I’ll sign as I always do, with a message God gives to God’s people over and over again:

Fear Not!

Dianne

June 2017

Dear Christ UMC Familiy,

My last letter to you. Wow! I really can't believe that our time together as pastor and congregations will be coming to an end so soon. I really had thought that I would be here longer than just 4 years. Well, once again, welcome to the United Methodist Church pastoral appointment system. It has some good and not so good qualities about it. Anyway, there are so many thoughts running through my mind in terms of all the things I should say and want to say and what I need to say but may forget to say. I had plans for so many other things that we can do in terms of ministry together and making and maturing disciples for Jesus Christ.

Many of you know that we had plans in the works, etc... and things that we needed to complete. Oh well, enough of that. What is done is done and it just is what it is. However, our "just is what it is" is covered in the sovereignty of God, He tells us in Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version) "'For I know the plans I have for you' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" These plans for a future and a hope that He has is for all of us. This includes you, me, your new pastor, Rev. Dianne Covault and the church where she is currently serving, as well as, the church that I will be going to and also their pastor that I will be following and the new churches that he will be serving!

I guess I will just end with saying thank you! First of all thanks be unto God for His awesome blessings bestowed upon Christ and Simpson United Methodist Churches! Thanks be unto God for allowing me the awesome honor and privilege of being allowed to serve as your pastor. Thanks to all of you for your help, assistance, patience, grace, love, gifts, support, forgiveness for any mistakes that I made knowingly or unknowingly and so much more throughout these past four years with me and my family. Thanks for your unending service to the Lord. So thank you, all of you for whatever you have done to move the ministry forward and build up the Kingdom of God!

I leave with you a few thoughts. One is from John Wesley and his thoughts on Methodism. He stated the following: “Thoughts Upon Methodism” : "I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power. And this undoubtedly will be the case unless they hold fast both the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which they first set out."

The other thought comes from the Breakthrough Prayer Initiative series that I am concluding our time together with on Sunday mornings. The series is based up the book, “Flood Gate: Holy Momentum For a Fearless Church” By Sue Nilson Kibbey and forwarded by our own Bishop Gregory Palmer. The Breakthrough Prayer is used to open the flood gates of powerful, spirit-driven movement by training and leading the congregation to pray together via a simple style that requests God to open up new possibilities.

"This ignites unprecedented and miraculous impact. Breakthrough prayer is asking God to do new works. New miracles we cannot do ourselves, without limits. It does not replace any other forms of prayer. It is additive. And yes, there are results. Sue Kibbey basically states that she has "…celebrated as incredible creativity and prayer passion have risen up. Enthusiasm and faith have surged forward. Hearts have been changed, willingness to dream again renewed!”

I implore you, please don't become a dead sect like John Wesley wrote above. Please don't give up in believing in new miracles and about what God can or cannot do. I implore you to stay open and/or move toward staying open in Holy Spirit Power! Please be willing to dream again and keep your faith renewed as to what God can do with your own life, as well as, the life of the church! Remember our mandate from Matthew 28: 19-20, "Therefore 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. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Please don't forget about our sick and shut-ins! Love you! I will miss you greatly and you will always be in my prayers!

Be Encouraged in Jesus!

Forgive, Live, Love, Laugh and Prayer! Pastor Darlene and family Dasan, David, Little Dennis and Mother Emma Robinson