I started this blog almost three years ago to talk about God leading me to change the direction of my ministry and became a pastor in the United Methodist Church. For those of you who have read my posts you probably have noticed that my posting has been much less frequent in recent months. Well, life has just been both good and busy.
I have been blessed these past nine months to serve in my new appointment at Grace UMC in Sioux City. It has been a lot of fun getting to know the people of Grace, learning my way around Sioux City, and working in ministry with my new charge. As the same time I have been continuing the process of working with the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church to complete my transfer of orders to the UMC and seek recognition as an Elder in Full Connection.
Part of the requirements of receiving such a recommendation involved me completing courses in UMC history, doctrine, and polity. I completed all of those classes in February of this year. Also in February I had what will probably be my last meeting with an examining committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry. And I am pleased to say that the BoOM has recommended me for full membership in the Iowa Conference!
This means that my name will come before the Clergy Session of the Conference in June for a vote. If I receive an affirmative vote from those eligible to vote in the Clergy Session I will be an Elder in Full Connection in the UMC.
For me this is a milestone in a lot of ways. It is a milestone in completing the process with the BoOM. In that process I felt very encouraged and affirmed while the examining committee members continued to ask good questions, seek understanding of my ministry and calling, and make decisions about my progress in the process.
It is also a milestone for me because, as I’ve shared many times now, I have felt for a long time that God wanted me to be a United Methodist serving God in a UM local churches. I’ve shared here in this blog how I believe God nudged me and guided me over the years into a Wesleyan understanding of the Christian faith which led me to seek out the UMC as my church home.
Each Christian tradition has its strengths. But what has continued to attract me and continues to pull me into the UMC has been John Wesley’s teaching and understanding of Grace. God’s gracious love, described by Wesley as Prevenient, Justifying, and Sanctifying continues to capture my heart and my imagination. What Wesley called the scripture way of salvation with its emphasis on the work of God’s grace in each of our lives throughout our lives colors and enriches everything that is best about United Methodists.
I am also empowered and enriched by the sacramental theology of the UMC. I was reminded again this Sunday in Communion how much my heart is warmed by the liturgy of the Great Thanksgiving and in the breaking of the bread and sharing of the cup. There is something so right and so heavenly to bend down on one knee so that a small child can take a piece of bread and dip it in the cup with a joyful smile on her face as she is told that the body of Christ was given for her! There is such Holy Spirit power in the voices of the congregation declaring as one that “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!” Some Sundays I can only think to myself, “it just doesn’t get any better than this!”
Yes indeed, I am deeply honored that the clergy of the Iowa Conference will consider my credentials this June, and I am deeply blessed to be serving the Lord in the Iowa Annual Conference of the UMC and here in Sioux City at Grace Church. I am very glad to be a United Methodist!
May each of you be blessed as we continued to celebrate the Risen Christ in these Great Fifty Days of the Easter Season. “Christ the Lord is Risen Today! Alleluia!”