There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
The writer of Ecclesiastes knows something about change. These ancient words remind us that nothing in our lives is permanent. Nothing is stagnant. And, while nobody likes change, perhaps the fact that nothing in life is stagnant is actually really good news!
If you’ve spent much time with me in the past year, you may have noticed some changes. You may have heard me talking more about children and families. You may have heard me tell a legacy story of University that started when the “saints” of Woodlawn Methodist Church ministered to a little girl named Dorothy who grew up to be one of the finest Christians I have ever known. You may have heard me preach (with great passion) about the needs of children and families in our congregation and in our community.
The truth is, in this past year, I have changed! The sometimes stagnant water of my spirit has been stirred to attend to something that I believe stirs the very heart of God. God’s heart is stirred to delight over the formation of children and their families. And, God’s heart breaks over the issues and circumstances that break the hearts of children and their families.
The children and families in our congregation and in our community need the best of all of us! Whether we have children of our own or not, God needs ALL the people of University to imprint the children with God’s story of love, belonging and purpose found in our Risen Lord Christ.
I believe God is calling University to raise a generation of children that are deeply formed by the love of God in Jesus Christ. And, I have the audacity to believe that if we can do this, we might just raise a generation that can change the world. In response to all these changes within me, my role at University is shifting from Pastor of Caring to Pastor of Family and Formation.
Rest assured, high-level caring will still happen at University. In fact, all of our clergy will be sharing the ministry of caring with each of us taking a day of the week to do hospital visits and look after those among us with great pastoral care needs. Melissa Supak has stepped into the role of Director of Caring and Formation. She will direct all the lay ministries of care as Jessica Caccamese shifts to a part-time role as the Director of Senior Adult ministry.
Finally, as part of these changes, my office has moved. I am now on the second floor of the Central (Sanctuary) Building, at the base of the stairwell that goes up to the Sky Bridge.
Friends, change is inevitable in this life. Nothing is stagnant. I am thankful to serve a church that follows where God is stirring.