Not that there was much doubt. But United Methodist pastors always feel better when they have it in writing. My letter from the bishop and district office came last Saturday.
One of my good friends, fellow pastor and blogger Jay Voorhees, lives in Nashville. He and his wife Kay pastor churches in the Nashville area, and Jay is known around the denomination for his writing, communication expertise, and his interest in the emerging church movement. He recently wrote about being reappointed to his church for another year. His thoughts are similar to mine on the subject:
One of the struggles we itinerant Methodist types have is the tension between participating in a system that discourages deep connections and rootedness with the call to ministry in a specific location which requires one to make those connections and place those roots in order to be effective. Some would argue that this is a good reason to throw out our connectional system, and especially the itinerancy that is part and parcel of that connection. I don’t quite go that far, for there are also positives to itinerancy (most particularly, a system that should (when it works) promote and emphasize the ministry of ALL Christians). Yet, I have experienced a deeper sense of calling to this place where I live and serve. I find myself sometimes wondering if God is continuing my call to a denominational system, or instead to a neighborhood and parish. Don’t worry, I’m not about to “honorably locate” or turn in my ministerial orders tomorrow — luckily our Bishop and Cabinet’s discernment is that I am to stay in my current situation. But, for the first time in many years I am more able to say that my calling is located in a specific piece of ground. – The Rev. Jay Voorhees, from his blog: Only Wonder Understands
It is becoming more and more clear to many that long pastorates are better for churches and parishes. I agree. If I were a layperson, I don’t think I’d be willing to follow someone’s leadership fully unless and until I trusted him or her. Trust, as we all know, doesn’t come easily and takes time.
I am certainly glad to be in Reidland. So is my family. May we grow with each other in our trust and service in Jesus Christ.