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News and Happenings at Christ UMC

Where has the spring gone? I can hardly believe that we are in the middle of May already. It just sank in this morning that my kids only have a week and a half left of school. What’s more, this Sunday we will be celebrating our graduating seniors and commissioning our youth mission team for their trip to Sierra Leone at the end of the month. Goodness gracious, my head is spinning!

Well, before the summer kicks into high gear, I wanted to give you a few updates from the church office. I have some good news and some not-so-good news. First, the not-so-good news, which you may have heard announced in worship a couple of weeks ago: Janet Howell, who has served for over four years in the church office as an administrative assistant and coordinator of publications, has moved with her husband Mike to Delaware. We will miss them both a lot, but they are excited to be moving closer to family.

Our Staff-Parish Committee has posted the job of Communications Coordinator and is now receiving resumes. (The job description is up on the church website, if you know someone who might be interested.) In the meantime Mike Deweese, Robin Kennedy and our fabulous interim-helper Brenda Anderson are keeping things going smoothly in the office. Say a big thank you to them when you see them!

Now for the good news: As you know, David Ssebulime has served as our Turner Fellow for three years while he has been studying at Vanderbilt Divinity School. That fellowship officially comes to an end this month. In fact, we received a kind letter from Rev. Tom Laney, Director of the Turner program, thanking us for serving as David’s host congregation for the past three years: “We celebrate the fact that Christ UMC has been such a wonderful learning laboratory for David. In getting to know and love the people of the church he has been exposed to the challenges of pastoral leadership and the dynamics of congregational life in the midst of joy and stress. These learning opportunities are only possible when a church truly opens itself up to the student and lets him be fully a part of the community…. Know how grateful we are to you for your vital role in David’s formation as a future leader of our United Methodist Church.”

Fortunately for us, even though David’s fellowship is officially ending, he has agreed to stay on at Christ UMC. He will be taking a group of folks from Christ and Blakemore UMC’s to Uganda in June, and then he will step in on a part-time basis during my renewal leave this fall to help with some teaching, preaching, and pastoral care. He will also be continuing his studies at Vanderbilt as he works to complete his M.Div. degree.

One other piece of good news: Rev. Paula Hoos, who served as one of the pastors of this congregation several years ago, has also agreed to help out during my leave this fall. She will be doing mostly visitation and pastoral care.

As quickly as the summer has come upon us, the fall will be here before we know it, and I wanted you to know about the people who will be working and serving in this place while I am out on leave. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s get ready to enjoy a summer full of ministry, mission, fellowship and fun together!