I give thanks to God for having allowed me the privilege to serve Him for the past six months at the First United Methodist Church of Saranac Lake. I was inducted as pastor November 1, 2014, but prior to the call to pastor this church, I was received as a member of this family under the pastoral leadership of Reverend Michael Richards. The fellowship received me with open arms and from the very beginning, I could sense something of a kindred-spirit here. The people of this fellowship do have warm hearts and have kept me encouraged; I hope that my encouragement in return has been as rich. I can hardly believe that six months have passed. I started during the high liturgical season on the Christian calendar, and already our Annual Conference here. This will be my first Annual Conference as a member of the United Methodist Church, and I will be attending as a voting member of the Conference.
As I anticipate this new annual cycle, I prayerfully seek to know how God wishes me to serve this congregation, and how this fellowship is to serve our community. As a Church, we are called to service, and therefore, we must be equipped to serve. When the Scripture speaks about equipping the Church it refers to the spiritual dynamic in which the church operates. During this past Lenten season I attempted to shed some light on various spiritual practices that are vital to our spiritual development. They help equip us to serve. We have talked about study, prayer, confession, meditation, fasting, and service. We must continue to engage these topics in our discussions and practice, as they will refine our effectiveness in serving others, and they will create an even stronger bond of fellowship. The most efficient way to explore these spiritual practices in-depth is in a bible study setting, where we can raise questions and engage in dialogue. Furthermore, we can find the encouragement to take this spiritual growth out of the abstract and integrate it into our daily lives, further preparing us to serve.
One area of service I believe we are led to cultivate in our ministry is reaching out into our local community, beginning with those who have been members of this church for a number of years, and are now considered shut-ins. They are no longer able to participate in the activities of the Church, yet we cannot forget them. We have an opportunity to exercise love toward them by offering services that we are able to provide. In our ministry we have started a Bible study at the DeChantel, we provide Sunday service recordings, serve communion, and deliver community meals, but as we think about the other needs of our shut-ins let us all consider what more we can do to enhance their lives. I do believe that it will be a rewarding and a healing experience as we reach out to our shut-ins.
Also, in relation to service, I am convinced that nothing escapes God’s notice. People sometimes tend to take this as a negative, as if God is looking for every mistake we make, and can’t wait to pounce on us. I believe that it is the other way around. God is looking for every opportunity, and for every reason to bless us, and to bless all that we do in his name. Every small jester that we make to care for other people God takes note of this. Lastly, it is good to know that we are not alone in our ministry, and in our own power and strength. We have the strength of God to enable us to serve and to be a blessing to our fellowship and our community.
Again, I wish to thank you for allowing me to serve you for these past months as we look toward the future. May God’s peace be unto you all.
Love and grace,
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