A Pastoral Letter to North Charleston United Methodist Church

The Cross on North Charleston United Methodist’s Steeple

Some of our congregation may have noticed that our church was mentioned in a newspaper article intended to be about the current trend of clergy members facing burnout and leaving the ministry. At first I was a bit mad because it didn’t portray our church in the light I have seen for the last nine months. I keep thinking to myself: “a page has turned and we are looking at a new chapter.” I think this may be a Holy Spirit given mantra reminding me that wherever we have been, we are no longer there. The present is here and we are thrusting into the future to face new challenges and experience new joys while working hard to participate in the Kingdom of God.

From my own experience, I’ve seen a church mobilizing to love everyone they meet and doing this task well. I see the mission of the church as it rebuilds and expands quickly (after almost two years of being held back by a pandemic that was beyond our control). I see people coming together to worship Jesus Christ and thank the Lord for bringing us through such a terrible time. I’ve also joined the Care Team and our new Missions and Outreach Committee as they dream big and see new ways to let people see God’s love in action.

In John’s first letter to the church he reminded us, “Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” (1 John 3:18)

I believe we are living this admonition, and we will continue to activate into this call on our lives. Wherever we have been, regardless of the hardships or the trials, the Lord has an incredible forward motion and we can jump forward in His incredible will for us all.

Holy Week is now upon us and we are reminded that before his Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus was reviled, misunderstood, and ultimately suffered willingly so that we might be redeemed from evil and sin. As our exemplar and model of perfect love we look at the cross and take up the burdens which inevitably come upon us in the journey of discipleship. If Christ was misunderstood and suffered, we also will experience similar times. The good news, however, is that we are people that do not fear death.

To the Corinthians Paul wrote: “We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we speak kindly. We have become like the rubbish of the world, the dregs of all things, to this very day.” (1 Corinthians 4:10-13)

I know that doesn’t sound like much fun, but being in a trial with Jesus is better than hav- ing all the riches and fame in the whole world without his mercy, peace, and love. I pray we continue to be people of resurrection and bear witness to the greatness of our Lord, and in that, we will be the most beautiful and blessed church we can be. Thanks be to God!

Pastor Dan

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