Pastor’s Report for Queen Street UMC (2007)

dorean elabote, dorean dote. Given Gifts – Give Gifts. (Matthew 10:8b).

I offer the above phrase, the motto of the Theological School of Drew University, as my personal mission statement. I am privileged to employ my gifts and talents among the United Methodists on Queen Street in Kinston, North Carolina. As a relative newcomer to the almost century old ministry of this church I am a period of continuous learning about our mission. Currently it is stated as: Being and Making Disciples of Christ in the Heart of Kinston. As I ponder our future together, I am piecing together the original dream for our church – a dream that placed our sanctuary on the outer edge of Kinston in 1911. The strong statement of building the largest sanctuary of any kind east of Raleigh conveys a tremendous vision, a vision that has over the intervening decades faded from view.

In the coming year we will be putting a team together to help us pray through a process of uncovering God’s dream for the people called Methodist on Queen Street. As we do this we will be paying attention to the leading of our Bishop, Al Gwinn, who is inviting every church in our conference to consider becoming an “ACTS 2 Church.” This involves paying special attention to the following: Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Spiritual Formation, and Risk-Taking Mission and Ministry to the World. Below is his challenge:

  • … by the Annual Conference of 2008 I want us to be able to identify, by name, 200 Acts 2 Churches in this conference! Churches that have all four of these qualities functioning well in the life of the Body. Churches that have decided to reach the lost, the unchurched, the de-churched – to reach children, youth, Hispanics and Latinos – not counting the cost or sacrifice involved.
  • Churches that have prayer-based, Spirit-filled, quality worship services. By the way, our 2005 statistics also show that our average Sunday morning worship attendance is down 2,796 persons! That fact should cause us to ask ourselves several serious questions about how we do worship, what we are or are not teaching about commitment and if real relationships actually exist.
  • By 2008 we will name 200 churches that are teaching their members to go deeper and not just wider. Churches that are serious about every member being in small groups where they are supported, encouraged and challenged to grow in Christ. Churches that are helping their members understand the gifts of the Spirit and the role of those gifts in building up the Body of Christ. Churches that forge strong, full partnerships between the clergy and laity. Churches that want a leader to equip and empower them and not do their ministry for them. Churches that want to be challenged and not coddled.
  • In 2008 we want to name 200 churches that are risk-takers in attacking poverty, seeking justice, caring for the needy – eager to give a hand-up and not just a hand-out.

– Bishop Al Gwinn, The State of the Church Address, Annual Conference 2006

As part of that work I offer the following as areas of emphasis for my ministry:

  • Creating a welcoming space and a caring team to work with children and youth;
  • Lead us in a disciplined approach to adult spiritual formation that challenges every baptized and professing member to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
  • Create a systematic model for reaching out into the community to invite persons into our community of faith and helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
  • Continue refining our systems of congregational care to include the formation and training of a new congregational care team.

I challenge our church to remember with Paul that the work of a pastor is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (see Ephesians 4:11). I remain committed to setting each of us free for ministry in this place. I thank God for the way Jacob Mewborn invites God’s Spirit into our worship life together. I give thanks for Teresa Smith and Sandra Thompson for providing valuable assistance to the administrative life of our church. There are numerous saints who offer themselves in powerful ways as we seek “to become all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

Pastor’s Report for Queen Street UMC (2007)

dorean elabote, dorean dote. Given Gifts – Give Gifts. (Matthew 10:8b).

I offer the above phrase, the motto of the Theological School of Drew University, as my personal mission statement. I am privileged to employ my gifts and talents among the United Methodists on Queen Street in Kinston, North Carolina. As a relative newcomer to the almost century old ministry of this church I am a period of continuous learning about our mission. Currently it is stated as: Being and Making Disciples of Christ in the Heart of Kinston. As I ponder our future together, I am piecing together the original dream for our church – a dream that placed our sanctuary on the outer edge of Kinston in 1911. The strong statement of building the largest sanctuary of any kind east of Raleigh conveys a tremendous vision, a vision that has over the intervening decades faded from view.

In the coming year we will be putting a team together to help us pray through a process of uncovering God’s dream for the people called Methodist on Queen Street. As we do this we will be paying attention to the leading of our Bishop, Al Gwinn, who is inviting every church in our conference to consider becoming an “ACTS 2 Church.” This involves paying special attention to the following: Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Spiritual Formation, and Risk-Taking Mission and Ministry to the World. Below is his challenge:

  • … by the Annual Conference of 2008 I want us to be able to identify, by name, 200 Acts 2 Churches in this conference! Churches that have all four of these qualities functioning well in the life of the Body. Churches that have decided to reach the lost, the unchurched, the de-churched – to reach children, youth, Hispanics and Latinos – not counting the cost or sacrifice involved.
  • Churches that have prayer-based, Spirit-filled, quality worship services. By the way, our 2005 statistics also show that our average Sunday morning worship attendance is down 2,796 persons! That fact should cause us to ask ourselves several serious questions about how we do worship, what we are or are not teaching about commitment and if real relationships actually exist.
  • By 2008 we will name 200 churches that are teaching their members to go deeper and not just wider. Churches that are serious about every member being in small groups where they are supported, encouraged and challenged to grow in Christ. Churches that are helping their members understand the gifts of the Spirit and the role of those gifts in building up the Body of Christ. Churches that forge strong, full partnerships between the clergy and laity. Churches that want a leader to equip and empower them and not do their ministry for them. Churches that want to be challenged and not coddled.
  • In 2008 we want to name 200 churches that are risk-takers in attacking poverty, seeking justice, caring for the needy – eager to give a hand-up and not just a hand-out.

– Bishop Al Gwinn, The State of the Church Address, Annual Conference 2006

As part of that work I offer the following as areas of emphasis for my ministry:

  • Creating a welcoming space and a caring team to work with children and youth;
  • Lead us in a disciplined approach to adult spiritual formation that challenges every baptized and professing member to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
  • Create a systematic model for reaching out into the community to invite persons into our community of faith and helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
  • Continue refining our systems of congregational care to include the formation and training of a new congregational care team.

I challenge our church to remember with Paul that the work of a pastor is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (see Ephesians 4:11). I remain committed to setting each of us free for ministry in this place. I thank God for the way Jacob Mewborn invites God’s Spirit into our worship life together. I give thanks for Teresa Smith and Sandra Thompson for providing valuable assistance to the administrative life of our church. There are numerous saints who offer themselves in powerful ways as we seek “to become all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

Pastor’s Report for Queen Street UMC (2007)

dorean elabote, dorean dote. Given Gifts – Give Gifts. (Matthew 10:8b).

I offer the above phrase, the motto of the Theological School of Drew University, as my personal mission statement. I am privileged to employ my gifts and talents among the United Methodists on Queen Street in Kinston, North Carolina. As a relative newcomer to the almost century old ministry of this church I am a period of continuous learning about our mission. Currently it is stated as: Being and Making Disciples of Christ in the Heart of Kinston. As I ponder our future together, I am piecing together the original dream for our church – a dream that placed our sanctuary on the outer edge of Kinston in 1911. The strong statement of building the largest sanctuary of any kind east of Raleigh conveys a tremendous vision, a vision that has over the intervening decades faded from view.

In the coming year we will be putting a team together to help us pray through a process of uncovering God’s dream for the people called Methodist on Queen Street. As we do this we will be paying attention to the leading of our Bishop, Al Gwinn, who is inviting every church in our conference to consider becoming an “ACTS 2 Church.” This involves paying special attention to the following: Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Spiritual Formation, and Risk-Taking Mission and Ministry to the World. Below is his challenge:

  • … by the Annual Conference of 2008 I want us to be able to identify, by name, 200 Acts 2 Churches in this conference! Churches that have all four of these qualities functioning well in the life of the Body. Churches that have decided to reach the lost, the unchurched, the de-churched – to reach children, youth, Hispanics and Latinos – not counting the cost or sacrifice involved.
  • Churches that have prayer-based, Spirit-filled, quality worship services. By the way, our 2005 statistics also show that our average Sunday morning worship attendance is down 2,796 persons! That fact should cause us to ask ourselves several serious questions about how we do worship, what we are or are not teaching about commitment and if real relationships actually exist.
  • By 2008 we will name 200 churches that are teaching their members to go deeper and not just wider. Churches that are serious about every member being in small groups where they are supported, encouraged and challenged to grow in Christ. Churches that are helping their members understand the gifts of the Spirit and the role of those gifts in building up the Body of Christ. Churches that forge strong, full partnerships between the clergy and laity. Churches that want a leader to equip and empower them and not do their ministry for them. Churches that want to be challenged and not coddled.
  • In 2008 we want to name 200 churches that are risk-takers in attacking poverty, seeking justice, caring for the needy – eager to give a hand-up and not just a hand-out.

– Bishop Al Gwinn, The State of the Church Address, Annual Conference 2006

As part of that work I offer the following as areas of emphasis for my ministry:

  • Creating a welcoming space and a caring team to work with children and youth;
  • Lead us in a disciplined approach to adult spiritual formation that challenges every baptized and professing member to become a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
  • Create a systematic model for reaching out into the community to invite persons into our community of faith and helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
  • Continue refining our systems of congregational care to include the formation and training of a new congregational care team.

I challenge our church to remember with Paul that the work of a pastor is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (see Ephesians 4:11). I remain committed to setting each of us free for ministry in this place. I thank God for the way Jacob Mewborn invites God’s Spirit into our worship life together. I give thanks for Teresa Smith and Sandra Thompson for providing valuable assistance to the administrative life of our church. There are numerous saints who offer themselves in powerful ways as we seek “to become all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

Pastor’s Report for Pinehurst UMC (2006)

dorean elabote, dorean dote. Given Gifts – Give Gifts. (Matthew 10:8b).

I continue to offer this phrase, the motto of the Theological School of Drew University, as my personal mission statement. I am privileged to employ my gifts and talents among the United Methodists of Pinehurst, North Carolina. Our journey from small to larger membership church, from store-front to permanent facility, from predominantly retired persons to a diverse cross-section of ages, from charter visionaries to emerging leaders continues as we launch our second decade of ministry. This year we began refocusing our vision for ministry and we offer the following for our first steps in pulling together for God’s purposes:

Pinehurst UMC is pursuing the joyful, transforming, and connecting power of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

  • in our worship as we are embraced by God’s grace;
  • in our fellowship as we are shaped into Christ’s character;
  • in our missions as we are humbly led by the Holy Spirit.

Pinehurst UMC Values:

  • FELLOWSHIP: Building relationships with God and others.
  • CHARACTER: Learning to become like Christ.
  • GRACE: Experiencing God’s gifts of faith, hope, and love.
  • HUMILITY: Valuing God and others before self.
  • MISSION: Serving others in our community and beyond.

Pinehurst UMC Believes:

  • God created all things good and all creation needs redemption.
  • God loves us enough to give his Son as a sign of love and forgiveness.
  • Jesus is the means to an abundant life with the Triune God.
  • Jesus comes alive in believers through the Holy Spirit.
  • Scripture is the primary source for what we believe and do.
  • The church’s faith is expressed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds.
  • Members of the church are called to a life of discipleship.
  • Disciples grow as they share in the sacraments and other means of grace.
  • Disciples joyfully offer their prayers, presence, gifts, and service.
  • Disciples share in the Wesleyan emphasis on personal and social holiness.

In the coming year we will need to focus the energy of the above statements into creating concrete ways of describing our mission and specific action items to accomplish the same. As we move forward we will pay attention to the leading of our Bishop, Al Gwinn, who is inviting every church in our conference to consider becoming an “ACTS 2 Church.” This involves paying special attention to the following: Radical Hospitality, Passionate Worship, Intentional Spiritual Formation, and Risk-Taking Mission and Ministry to the World. Below is his challenge:

  • … by the Annual Conference of 2008 I want us to be able to identify, by name, 200 Acts 2 Churches in this conference! Churches that have all four of these qualities functioning well in the life of the Body. Churches that have decided to reach the lost, the unchurched, the de-churched – to reach children, youth, Hispanics and Latinos – not counting the cost or sacrifice involved.
  • Churches that have prayer-based, Spirit-filled, quality worship services. By the way, our 2005 statistics also show that our average Sunday morning worship attendance is down 2,796 persons! That fact should cause us to ask ourselves several serious questions about how we do worship, what we are or are not teaching about commitment and if real relationships actually exist.
  • By 2008 we will name 200 churches that are teaching their members to go deeper and not just wider. Churches that are serious about every member being in small groups where they are supported, encouraged and challenged to grow in Christ. Churches that are helping their members understand the gifts of the Spirit and the role of those gifts in building up the Body of Christ. Churches that forge strong, full partnerships between the clergy and laity. Churches that want a leader to equip and empower them and not do their ministry for them. Churches that want to be challenged and not coddled.
  • In 2008 we want to name 200 churches that are risk-takers in attacking poverty, seeking justice, caring for the needy – eager to give a hand-up and not just a hand-out.
  • Bishop Al Gwinn, The State of the Church Address, Annual Conference 2006

As part of that work I offer the following as areas of emphasis for my ministry:

  • Refining and aligning our worship with the our values and beliefs,
  • Lead us in a disciplined approach to adult spiritual formation that recognizes that small groups are the way this church will accomplish fellowship and ministry together.
  • Create a systematic model for reaching out into the community to invite persons into our community of faith and helping them become fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.
  • Continue refining our systems of congregational care to include the formation of a new congregational wellness team with a parish nurse and teaching our first team of Stephen Ministers for providing care at moments of specific need.

This year we have welcomed 40 persons into membership in the church (current membership is 503 persons). Our worship attendance is averaging 300 for the year, although we experienced some decline in worship during the Promised Land Campaign.

We celebrate the following results of our Promised Land Campaign

  • $585,000 pledged in cash.
  • $68,000 received through November 30, 2006.
  • Gift of Steinway Baby Grand Piano.
  • Gift of a Log Cabin Kit ($45,000).
  • Gift of two pieces of real estate (not yet valued).
  • Other specific gifts are being discussed.

In our community we support Friend to Friend, the Sandhills Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Coalition for Human Care, Habitat for Humanity, and Moore Housing. With our hands we have mowed lawns, weeded and planted flower beds, replaced roofs, provided meals to the homeless with Community Presbyterian Church, and served countless hours in thrift stores. We have sent four teams to work alongside victims of Hurricane Katrina in Bay Saint Louis. We have raised in excess of $30,000 for missions’ projects close at hand and at a distance. We are living into God’s promise to Abraham that we are blessed to be blessing.

I continue to challenge our church to remember with Paul that the work of a pastor is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (see Ephesians 4:11). I remain committed to setting each of us free for ministry in this place. Roger and Jean Hicks continue to invite God’s Spirit our worship life together. Stacy Pell, Stephanie Lind, and Bryan Fillettte are a breath of fresh air for our children’s and youth programs. I give thanks for Ellen Hertlein and Roberta Culver who provided valuable assistance to the administrative life of our church. Their able handling of the details enables me to spend more time with the members of our church and in prayer with Jesus. I am also blessed to work with my colleagues Lovell Aills, Jean Arthur, Bruce Carlson, Emil Johnson, Betsy Kugel, and Ronda Torres. May we find strength in the willingness “to become all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

Pastor’s Report for Pinehurst UMC (2005)

dorean elabote, dorean dote. Given Gifts – Give Gifts. (Matthew 10:8b).

I continue to offer this phrase, the motto of the Theological School of Drew University, as my personal mission statement. I am privileged to employ my gifts and talents for planning for the future, teaching, and preaching among the United Methodists of Pinehurst, North Carolina.
Our journey from small to larger membership church, from store-front to permanent facility, from predominantly retired persons to a diverse cross-section of ages, from charter visionaries to emerging leaders continues. Perhaps this past week’s Tenth Anniversary Celebration did more than anything to launch our second decade of ministry.

So far this year we have welcomed 50 persons into membership in the church (current membership is 484 persons). Our worship attendance is averaging 335 persons since Labor Day and we anticipate welcoming 10-15 persons into membership in November. In January and February of this year we read, taught, prayed and worshipped our way through Maxie Dunnam and Kimberly Reisman’s The Workbook on Virtues & the Fruit of the Spirit. From Ash Wednesday through Easter we prayed and studied through Mark’s Gospel. A sermon series on the Holy Spirit in the season after Easter has been followed by an extended teaching and preaching series based on Reuben Job’s A Wesleyan Spiritual Reader. We have launched new weekly Bible studies centered on the Ten Commandments and an Invitation to the New Testament (from DISCIPLE Bible Studies).

In our community we support Friend to Friend, the Sandhills Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Coalition for Human Care, Habitat for Humanity, and Moore Housing. With our hands we have mowed lawns, weeded and planted flower beds, replaced roofs, provided meals to the homeless with Community Presbyterian Church, and served countless hours in thrift stores. We have raised in excess of $40,000 for missions’ projects close at hand and at a distance. We are living into God’s promise to Abraham that we are blessed to be blessing.

I continue to challenge our church to remember with Paul that the work of a pastor is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (see Ephesians 4:11). I remain committed to setting each of us free for ministry in this place. Roger and Jean Hicks continue to invite God’s Spirit our worship life together. Todd Ferguson and Stacy Pell are a breath of fresh air for our children’s and youth programs. I give thanks for Ellen Hertlein and Roberta Culver who provided valuable assistance to the administrative life of our church. Their able handling of the details enables me to spend more time with the members of our church and in prayer with Jesus. I am also blessed to work with my colleagues Lovell Aills, Jean Arthur, Bruce Carlson, Emil Johnson, Betsy Kugel, and Ronda Torres. May we find strength in the willingness “to become all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

As we look forward to our second decade of ministry with God in this place I would claim the following promises:

  • Our parking lot construction will enable us to focus more on welcoming others at special events rather than “telling them where to go” to find more parking.
  • In the coming year we will streamline our volunteer process to be more welcoming of individuals of various availabilities to support our children and youth ministries.
  • Finally, we will strive to provide the tools and methods to help persons see themselves as gifted, talented, available, called, and fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ.

Pastor’s Report for Pinehurst UMC (2004)

dorean elabote, dorean dote. Given Gifts – Give Gifts. (Matthew 10:8b).

I continue to offer this phrase, the motto of the Theological School of Drew University, as my personal mission statement. I am privileged to employ my gifts among the Methodists of Pinehurst, North Carolina.

Our transitional journey from small to larger membership church, from store-front to permanent facility, from predominantly retired persons to a diverse cross-section of ages, from charter visionaries to emerging leaders continues. This journey is marked by transitions that are both transparent and murky. At times we have clarity and at other moments we seem to be grasping in the dark. The gift of this church is that we continue to see these possibilities as an opportunity to enjoy God’s blessings.

So far this year we have welcomed over 60 persons into membership in the church (current membership is 427 persons). Our worship attendance has jumped to 330 since Labor Day and we anticipate welcoming another 10-15 persons into membership on our Celebration Sunday (October 24, 2004). This Sunday will mark the ninth anniversary of our worshipping together in Pinehurst. In January and February of this year we read, taught, prayed and worshipped our way through Rick Warren’s book The Purpose-Driven Life. From Ash Wednesday through Pentecost we studied Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Most recently we have been paying attention to the transforming power of God’s Holy Spirit to help us learn the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
This year Roger and Jean Hicks arrived to provide leadership to our music ministry. They have embraced our love for traditional music and led us to deeper appreciation of contemporary music forms. They have also introduced us to gifted musicians in our midst: Robey Howard – saxophone, a trombone quartet featuring our high school students, a mixed instrumental ensemble, and choirs of pre- and elementary schoolers. Most recently they have invited us to journey in our appreciation of handbells through a special purchase made possible by the gifts of two families in the church.

Our ministry with children and youth is experiencing the pangs of growth as we move from crawling to walking. A special thank you is due Beth VonCannon and Susan Windley for leading us in our children’s church. Mary Kilkka provided invaluable leadership to our church school program and proved a strong proponent for enhancing our children’s spaces. Keith and Kerry Millikan joined Susan Brazaski in working with our youth and our kids are becoming vitally engaged in our church and community.

In our community we are making a mark of Jesus Christ. We support Friend to Friend, the Sandhills Interfaith Hospitality Network, the Coalition for Human Care, Habitat for Humanity, and Moore Housing. With our hands we have mowed lawns, weeded and planted flower beds, replaced roofs, built a house with Southern Pines UMC, served meals to the homeless with Community Presbyterian Church, and served countless hours in thrift stores. We have raised in excess of $15,000 for missions’ projects close at hand and at a distance. Surely we are living into God’s promise to Abraham that we are blessed to be blessing.

I continue to challenge our church to remember with Paul that the work of a pastor is “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (see Ephesians 4:11). I remain committed to setting each of us free for ministry in this place. I give thanks for Lucy Achuff and Ellen Hertlein who provided valuable assistance to the administrative life of our church. Their able handling of the details enables me to spend more time witht eh members of our church and in prayer with Jesus. I am also blessed to work with my colleagues Lovell Aills, Jean Arthur, Bruce Carlson, Betsy Kugel, and Ronda Torres. May we find strength in the willingness “to become all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

Pastor’s Report for Pinehurst UMC (2003)

dorean elabote, dorean dote. Given Gifts – Give Gifts. (Matthew 10:8b).

I offer this phrase, the motto of the Theological School of Drew University, as my mission statement. As a person called by God and ordained an elder in The United Methodist Church, I am privileged to employ my gifts among the Methodists – both saints and sinners – of Pinehurst, North Carolina.

As a newcomer to this community of faith, I can only limited observations about our life together. I celebrate the spirit of God that is evident in the body of Christ here in Pinehurst and pray that we will continue to lean into God’s future for this church. I find myself learning a new style of working among the God’s people. Scripturally I find myself challenged by Paul to live into his call for the pastor “to equip the saints for the work of ministry” (see Ephesians 4:11). I am committed to setting each of us free for ministry in this place. To this end I am trying to spend more time with God and others in prayer and discernment about what God is already doing in the Sandhills and how we can respond to that call. As I seek to know Jesus more and the details of the church’s life less I sometimes like I am just muddling through. In those moments I find strength in the apostle Paul’s willingness “to become all things to all people so that by all means some might be saved” (1 Corinthians 9:22).

I recently reviewed Albert Outler’s in (1996). Albert Outler noted that our task in ministry is always three-fold (see pp. 65-66): (1) announcing the coming of Christ (see Mark 16:15), (2) witnessing by our actions and words to God’s love (see Acts 1:8), and (3) living as servants together (see John 13). The problem for Outler’s day and our own is that often settle for living together in community and struggle with our announcing and witnessing ministries with the least, the last, and the lost of Jesus’ sisters and brothers. Rich Mullins reminds me that “faith without works is a song you can’t sing … it’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine.” As we seek to enhance our fellowship together, let us never lose our resolve to reach out to the “Lost in America” beginning with the 20,000 persons who reside within 5 miles of this place (see Tom Clegg, Lost in America, 2001).

Our lay leadership development team comes to you offering a simpler slate of officers – a chance
for God to breathe fresh air into our predictability. In the coming year we will invite more folks to live into a model of ministry where calling, equipping, and sending sets the tempo for our life together. This will be a struggle as we move beyond our comfort zone to a passion driven and gift-based model for discerning and equipping each of us for the work of ministry. Expanding our current ministries has already brought other issues to light. Fifteen months after moving into this space we find ourselves expanding beyond the walls of existing classroom space and needing to invent and reinvent church school for young and old alike.

I cannot finish without a word of gratitude to Glenda Clendenin, Lucy Achuff, and Merry Glass who have helped me learn how to shuffle the paperwork and ride the unpredictable carousel of this church. They possess grace in uncertain moments, wisdom in the face of confusion, and confidence to tame my not so humble nature. To their names, I add the great blessing I receive from working with my colleagues Lovell and Barbara Aills, Jean Arthur, Bob and Inez Bundy, Bruce and Jean Carlson, Betsy Kugel, and Ronda and Eric Torres. Their wisdom goes with me to the broader Methodist connection where I serve as the chairperson of our conference’s Commission on Congregational Development and share in our conference’s visioning by sitting at the Conference Connectional Table. I especially give thanks for Cindy, Ann and William – my God-given family – they are God’s breath of fresh air every day. Finally, I am blessed to live and work among the saints and sinners of Pinehurst United Methodist Church.