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March Newsletter Lead Article "On the Christian Journey... with Pastor Christopher"

We journey in a time of change. We are saying “farewell” to Marla and all she’s done for us for so long, and “welcome” to Zandra Hood, our new secretary. I want to emphasize that Zandra is not “replacing” Marla. She will need time to get to know us and she will be working less than half the hours Marla was. She simply cannot and will not be expected to do everything Marla was doing. We are divvying those tasks up in various ways and will continue to live into this change in the coming weeks and months. If we need to make adjustments, we will!

This staff change is not one I would have chosen - but when Marla notified me of her intent to retire, I recognized the challenge and focused on the opportunity and reality that “God can do abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3). We desperately need to find ways to connect with young families and be more active in the community as a congregation beyond hosting the wonderful Feeding Families ministry. Working with Ron Wood and Susan Carnes as key leaders, I began brainstorming how we could better align our staff and budget with that need. See “The Rest of the Plan” later in this newsletter for more information on our intended next steps.

Recently I spoke a bit about Methodist history. One of the key things about a Wesleyan approach to faith is our emphasis on the connectional nature of the church. We are not on our own - we work together in small groups, congregations, networks, districts, conferences, etc. Joint efforts like UMCOR represent Methodism at our best - and so I have named our redesigned newsletter “the Connexion” - using the spelling of Wesley’s day. This publication is about connecting and equipping us as members of First UMC. Welcome to the next step on our journey together!



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