I remember the day I received a stole in worship for the first time. It was in 2017 and I had just been ordained by Bishop Leonard Fairley. For me, ordination was a long journey of starts and stops. It seemed like it would never happen for me to be ordained. When it did happen, I felt like an enormous weight had been taken off my shoulders.
So, when Kevin Burney placed the stole on me it felt like a victorious moment. I had made it. The mission had been accomplished. I could breathe easily now.
Or so I thought. The following Sunday, I wore a stole Abbi had made for me in worship. It is one you will see, from time to time, that includes elements of both West Virginia and Kentucky. It doesn’t weigh much, but the moment I placed it on me I felt a weight I had never felt before. I felt the responsibility, in a deeper way, of the call to pastoral leadership and the authority entrusted to me by God. Continue reading “Sermon: Yoke of Christ”
Today, Abbi, Noah, Thaddeus and I begin our new season with Pea Ridge UMC in Huntington, W.Va. We have been … Continue reading Ten Things You Should Know About Your New Pastor
One of the difficult responsibilities for a pastor is to know when to speak on situations that are affecting our community and nation. It is one I take seriously and prayerfully. The desire is to respond with words of faith and compassion as we wrestle with major issues and crisis points. Throughout my ministry, I have offered pastoral prayerful guidance following school shootings, contentious elections, and denominational struggles. All with the hope and prayer to offer some words from God that can help my congregation and community to process the moment and to enter into a deeper state of prayer.
Lately, I have found myself having to speak more often with words of pastoral hope and guidance in response to difficult moments. Right now, we are dealing with three major boiling points as a nation: the coronavirus pandemic, how 40 million people are currently unemployed, and the increasing racial tensions. Continue reading “Confession Needed As We Seek Justice”
A few weeks ago, I offered some reflections on serving as a pastor during a pandemic. I shared about how this season has been odd and difficult. I yearn for the experiences of odd and difficult, now, as we prepare to consider what does it mean to relaunch in-person activities.
I find myself in a place of constant stress, anxiety, and emotional exhaustion as we begin to consider what does it mean to gather back together once more.
Certainly, I never imagined that two months after shutting down in-person activities that we would still be in this place. I never imagined we would go two months without sharing the sacraments together. I never imagined we would go two months without a lot of the essential activities of community. My worst-case scenario began to play out Sunday of being out through Mother’s Day. My ultimate worst-case scenario is becoming a heartbreaking reality of not being together on my last Sunday, which is only a few weeks away. Continue reading “Being a Pastor During a Pandemic: The Relaunch Edition”