First, let me say hello and thank you for the warm welcome you have extended to me, your new pastor. You have been understanding with me as I learn your names and walk with you into God’s work at Glen Moore UMC. My brief bio has already been made available to you, but let me offer up a few additional details. I am the oldest of 7 children, 5 girls and 2 boys. My mom was from South Carolina where my dad, who was from Syracuse, NY, met her while in training for the US Army Air Force in World War II. He returned from Europe at the end of the war, married my mom, and brought her north to Syracuse where I was born. [Brief note: there is a history of serving in the armed forces in our family as my brother served in the Army, myself in the Air Force, my youngest daughter Jenny in the Navy, and my middle son Ian is currently in the Army, serving as a recruiter in the Philadelphia area.]
Brought up at North Syracuse Baptist Church, my second home, I accepted Christ as my savior as an early teenager at a Billy Graham rally. Early on, I heard God’s voice calling me into ministry but in my own stubbornness and pride, it took many years before I responded.
If you were to ask me for my credo, it would sound like this: I believe in a loving God who desires a relationship with me. I believe that He created me for a purpose and that I am drawn closer to him when in admission of my brokenness. I believe He will use me and equip me for further kingdom-building in this world. I believe in the power of prayer and particularly in listening to hear His voice. I believe God is at work in this world, and I am to follow the example of Jesus in how I treat others. I accept that I am only one person, but when God works through me, marvelous things can happen, including healing, comfort and restoration. I am redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and I do not fear death because I believe there is a heaven that awaits me. I do believe that God Allows me to go through hard times and then uses that experience to reach out to others as they travel a similar road. Today I see myself opening up to others about my brokenness and using it to reach them with the Good News that God loves them and desires to be in relationship with them. And when we are in relationship with Him, we will follow His will for our lives, emulating His role for us in loving each other and being in service for each other.
I feel drawn to pastoring people on their own journeys to draw closer to God, even when they don’t understand it all. I have discovered a gift for ministry in my own life over the last year as the Romansville church, where I also pastor, lost 4 patriarchs, people whose lives in the church stretched across generations. We stood at gravesides, saying goodbye to folks who spent most of their lives in the church. One was 93 and a member there since a young boy. I know that I have wept with family members at these personal losses, and I have prayed with them as they grieved and celebrated the lives of their loved ones. I still feel that God gave me this gift to use in His ministry. There is a quote I like very much from Ed Dobson, an evangelical pastor who contracted ALS just as he was retiring from ministry. During his battle with ALS, he learned an important aspect about how we help others: “Show up. Shut up. God will do the rest.” I like this very much and believe that too often we feel we have to be fully equipped before we can be in ministry. But folks, God doesn’t call the equipped; He equips the called. We are all called to be God’s hands and feet in this world, in this community of Glenmoore where He has planted us. Let’s be the Good News to all we meet as we help build the kingdom of God.