~Staying Connected~

….A newsletter from the desk of Pastor Steve-Alton United Methodist Church….

June 2018

     Ahhhhhhhhh.  That’s the sentiment these days for lots of folks, right?  Ahhhhhhhh.  June is here.  Grass is green.  Lilacs are in bloom.  Graduations are here.  Golf clubs are out, camps are open.  Ice and snow are long gone.  Ahhhhhhhh.  And yet….

     Amidst mixing-in vacation days and some down time into our schedules, there is work to be done.  In fact, this time of year is actually the busiest and most frenetic time of year for some.  Think of the hustle-bustle and long days for those communities and businesses hosting tourists from near and far.  Landscapers, road crews and construction workers are working hard to take advantage of weather conducive to their work.  And yes, churches are busy too.

     It is during this time of year numerous churches are saying goodbye to their pastors while preparing to welcome new shepherds and their families.  Pastors who will be moving to new assignments are packing their homes and offices, and likely dealing with a bit of anxiety as they wonder what is ahead in their new assignments.  In our district alone, North-Brewer Eddington, Grace UMC in Bangor, Hampden, Corinth, Milo, Ellsworth, Guilford, Columbia and Penobscot are among churches receiving new pastors. As I announced in church a few Sundays ago, while I will remain at both Orono and Alton United Methodist Churches (very thankful for that!), I’ve also been asked to pastor the Milbridge/Wyman church since they are without a pastor. So Judy and I will be traveling to be with this church family for Sunday evening services beginning the first Sunday of July.  This is a reunion of sorts for us, since this was the first church I pastored (2004-2009.) We are looking forward to being part of that church family again, but of course, there is work involved as we accept this new responsibility; the church folks there will also need to do the work of adapting to a new schedule as they transition from morning to evening services on Sundays.

     As we live-out our lives together here in “Vacationland” over the next three months, we all (hopefully) will have a chance to take a breath and enjoy our beautiful state.  Yet the work of our church will continue as we embrace the joyous duties of being faithful to Christ’s call on our lives.  We will extend God’s presence in our community and beyond as we offer ministries of visitation, food, medicines and assistance with shelter.  We will work to create meaningful, relevant, love-filled worship services on Sunday mornings which will include laughter and learning.  We will welcome new members to church committees, and will meet to pray and plan for new programs which will focus our attention on discipleship.

     I surely hope you will enjoy some “Ahhhhhhhhh” moments in the coming weeks.  Rest and sabbath are important, and should be embraced.  Yet I also encourage us all to continue our work together in these coming months-to be lights in this world that is too often dark.  God will continue to use the church as a conduit for love, grace, mercy, forgiveness, and instruction.  I’m looking forward to our time together as we journey into the busy summer season here in the Pine Tree State.