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Pastor's Page

Dear Friends

 

Greetings in the name of Jesus!  When my parents were a couple of years into their marriage, they decided to move to northern Washington County.  This was a move away from the city of Pittsburgh to the country before it became a suburban landscape.  As with many young first-time home buyers, this move came with what seemed to be astronomical debt.  Thinking that they might have taken on more than they could handle, they were surprised to discover just a few months later they were expecting their first child! 

 

My mother told me that story several times.  There were different morals to the tale depending on the situation.  It could be how unexpected surprises come our way at the most inconvenient time.  It might illustrate that God takes cares of us even when life overwhelms us.  It could simply mean that God has a way of working all things together for good.

 

I must admit I thought about my parents and that story several times since early May.  I felt like I was living my own version of it as a pastor.  On Sunday, April 28th it was announced that Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi would be appointing Rev. Amanda Mitchell as the half-time associate pastor at Bakerstown UMC beginning July 1st. I was excited about the gifts that Pastor Amanda brings to our church especially her wealth of experience in youth ministry.

 

Within two weeks of announcing the appointment of our associate pastor, sweeping changes in our denomination’s stance on human sexuality were made by the General Conference of the United Methodist Church.  An exciting, hopeful moment in the life of our congregation was disrupted by change and uncertainty.  I remember doubts began filling my mind about whether the ministry of our church could withstand everything that was happening.

 

In the weeks that followed, I had several conversations with many of you about the results of the General Conference actions.  During our Town Hall on June 2nd, Pastor Alyce and I answered many of your questions and expressed our personal perspective.  In many ways, I affirmed what I wrote a few days after the General Conference. I continue in my commitment to preaching and teaching the scriptures as I always have among you.  I will do my best in leading us in the work of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world.  I remain convicted that we are called to keep growing in our love for God and neighbor.

 

I am writing this Pastor’s page on the first day of Vacation Bible School.  I am filled with hope as our church teaches our children and those of our community about God.  The biblical theme for the week is that God is a friend.  The key concept one day will be God is a friend we can trust. One of my favorite teachings in the Scripture is that God has promised to never leave us or forsake us.  It is mentioned throughout the Old Testament.  Jesus rephrased it while giving the Great Commission in Matthew 28 when He said, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  In fact, the founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley said in his dying moments, “Best of all, God is with us.”

 

During challenging times personally and corporately, it is good to remember that God is with us even when we are not sure what God is doing.  We still have work to do … and best of all, God is with us!

 

Blessings,

Pastor Keith

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