Today I announced in worship that the Bishop and Cabinet of the UM Baltimore-Washington Conference has appointed me to serve as lead pastor for Mt. Zion UMC in Lothian, MD effective July, 1st. This is bittersweet for me because the people of Tom’s Creek will always have a special place in my heart. The time we have journeyed together has been amazing and we have accomplished things that some people said was impossible. Yet, as hard as it is to say good-bye I know that God is calling me to serve the people of Mt. Zion UMC.
It is part of our Methodist heritage that we have an itinerant clergy system. Pastors are sent to a church for a season and then they are moved onto another church to serve them. I was asked to pray about the new potential appointment to Mt. Zion. I went into the time of prayer thinking I don't want to leave this amazing church and these wonderful people. Yet, God had a different plan. One of my main concerns was Jeffrey and what he would do because he loves his job in Thurmont. Yet, after a little time in thought and prayer Jeff said that it was time to go "back home to Vermont". He loves Vermont and his plan was always to return. In May, he will be moving to the family homestead in Vermont and moving into the unoccupied house of his great-grandparents. The house is next door to his grandparents and the other neighbor is his aunt and uncle. It is his next faithful step in growing up and his first time living in a house all by himself. The blessing is that family will be right next door!!
God continued to work on my heart and kept giving me signs that Mt. Zion is where God wants me to go. Every reason I brought before God about why I want to stay was answered with the response that it was still my time to go. I learned long ago that you have to trust and obey God. I knew I was sent here to help wipe away 1.2 million dollars in debt and we did that last December. We accomplished so much more than that along the way. We were able to pay off the debt because we have created real community that people want to be a part of! And I kept creating reasons why I still needed to stay and yet God knew it was time. In less than 24 hours of prayer God had convinced me that I was supposed to go and serve Mt. Zion.
The heartbreak is still there. I feel great loss and yet I also know that great things lie ahead for me and for Tom's Creek. We have some months to say good-bye and to accomplish some more things. My last Sunday will probably be the first Sunday in June as I prepare for the move to Mt. Zion. Until then let us continue to love one another on this amazing journey that God has for us.