Dear RUMC friends,
For the last four months I have been looking forward to joining you as your pastor - praying for you and for our ministry together, and meeting regularly with Pastor Vivian to learn more about the part of Christ’s body known as Reisterstown UMC.
I’m excited to get to know you, to hear your stories, and to learn how God has moved in your life through the ministries at RUMC. I’m also excited to listen with you for where God is leading us next - particularly during this most unusual season.
The Book of Acts has become one of my favorites over the last several months, because it paints a picture of a Church that was driven by the Holy Spirit, fully engaged in God’s world-changing work, and doing it all without a building. To be sure, our building is a powerful tool for life-changing ministry and mission, and admittedly it’s a bit strange that we won’t be getting to know each other over potlucks or coffee hour! Yet, during this time when we are limited in our ability to gather physically, it’s encouraging to remember that the early Church was not dependent upon a building to form meaningful relationships with one another or to serve as a powerful instrument of God’s grace.
And, at a time when everything around us seems to be in flux, it’s also encouraging to see how some of the people who were closest to Jesus were equally challenged by the constantly-evolving nature of “church.” Still they prayed, they listened for God’s Spirit, and they adapted - so that they could continue to be faithful witnesses to the grace that they had received in Jesus Christ.
Overwhelmingly, we are reminded both by the Book of Acts and this pandemic that we are the church. You. Me. The other people popping up on the Zoom call and those driving in beside us on Sunday morning. We’ve become so accustomed to saying that “we’re going to church” (myself included), that sometimes we forget that we’re the church, and the church exists wherever we are. Through our baptisms we’ve been commissioned to serve as Jesus’ representatives - his witnesses - here in our own community (our Jerusalem), in our region (Judea), and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Right now we have a wonderfully skilled and dedicated team of people looking at what it will look like for us to reopen safely. As they do that, I want to invite us all to look for the gifts in this time - this opportunity to keep wrestling with what it means for us to be the church, together. Together we’ll pray, we’ll listen for the Holy Spirit, and we’ll keep adapting - so that we can continue to be powerful instruments of God’s life-changing and world-changing grace.
Reisterstown UMC, I’m excited to be the church with you, and I’m excited for the ways that God will use us to touch the lives of those in our community, across Maryland, and even in places throughout the world.
In faith, in hope, and with love,