A Time of Transition
Delivered By
From Pastor Lee
Delivered On
February 1, 2023
A Time of Transition

Glen lived on a chicken farm, which was a fun place for a couple of nine-year-old boys to play. There were all sorts of materials lying around, materials that we used to construct a boat. Our boat was made out of two large pieces of Styrofoam and other things, which I cannot remember. I do remember placing our boat in the creek behind his house, and as we begin to float down stream all was well for several minutes. Well, that is until the two large pieces of Styrofoam separated from each other, right underneath us, and we ended up going down in the shallow creek. Yes, we got wet, and we couldn’t get our boat to stay together no matter what we did.

It sort of reminds me, but on a much grander scale, of what is happening in the United Methodist Church. Yes, there is no denying that we Methodist are in a time of transition. I must be honest in saying that it breaks my heart and is difficult to deal with as if it’s become a stressful marriage. A marriage in which it seems that we are not able to hold it together much longer. This transition (or divorce) no matter how peaceful we attempt to make it brings much ambiguity with it as we have witnessed a once widely protocol for separation fall to pieces, the birth of a new denomination (the Global Methodist Church), and news of disaffiliations in other annual conferences. It seems we were behind as a conference in this separation process until just before Christmas when our Bishop announced a plan of disaffiliation had finally been developed. To me if feels like we are at a place of transition of looking back at what we once had and looking ahead to uncertainty. This is true even if we are not even beginning the process of “discernment.” I think we’ve been in the process of discernment for quite a while now whether we were aware of it or not. For now I will do my best to help you answer any questions you may have concerning the state of the denomination. However, there is much we do not know with General Conference 2024 approaching. What is known is that we find ourselves in a place like Moses and the Hebrew people as they left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness. We can’t go back to the way it was but must keep moving no matter how difficult or painful it will get. We can choose to throw our hands up in despair, but that will not be helpful to our family here at Grace.

We can choose to set audacious goals, cast a bold new vision, and wrestle our way toward a new beginning. That approach may provide a false sense of purpose. It will not help with this transitional state we find ourselves in. By the way there is a word for that state of being in transition. It is called “liminality.” The best approach during this time is to focus on discovering the mind of Jesus Christ for the heart of the Church through prayer and scripture. It is not easy but it can be the most important and ultimately rewarding thing we can do in the life of Grace UMC during this time of liminality. No matter what the future holds I am so grateful for ALL of you. Thank you for allowing me to be your Pastor.

Prayers and love to ALL of you. Lee