October 29, 2021
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God, our Father, and the Lord, Jesus Christ!
It has been some time since you last received an update regarding the status of receiving an interim (“to the interim”) pastor. The purpose of this message is to share the latest and greatest information that I have, and I will do that by taking a look at where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we are headed in the near future - specifically in terms of pastoral leadership.
When Pastor Bill departed from St. Matthew at the beginning of September, the synod had the goal of securing an interim pastor for us at the beginning of October. When October arrived, that goal became the beginning of November. Knowing that scheduling supply pastors is a bit of an art, I reached out to Pastor Mitch Phillips, one of the assistants to our Bishop, to inquire about the status of the search for an interim pastor and to help determine what need, if any, there would be in securing supply leadership.
Unfortunately, interim pastors are few in number, and there are many congregations in our synod (and elsewhere) who are in need of their leadership. Due to this reality, the synod is unable to provide an interim pastor at this time, which means St. Matthew will continue to be served by yours truly and the rest of its faithful staff, as well as supply pastors on Sunday mornings, until a permanent pastor is called.
You may be wondering, “what does this mean as we go into the holiday season?”
That’s a wonderful question, which for now, I will answer by assuring you that our worship team has been and continues to be hard at work in discerning and discussing what our worship life will look like in the coming weeks in light of this new reality. Once those details are finalized, I will gladly share them in another update. Stay tuned!
I recognize the anxiety that news like this can create. It certainly has done so at various times for myself. It is in those moments, though, that I have done my best to lean on the words Proverbs offers:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (3:5-6)
“The human mind plans the way, but the Lord directs the steps.” (16:9)
While this may not have been the reality we imagined, we are called to trust in the Lord with our whole heart and to trust that the call process will unfold in whatever way and timing God sees fit. It is my prayer that you too can find comfort in these words, and that together, we will allow our steps to be directed by the One who is the way, the truth, and the life.
As always, if I can be of assistance to you in this time of waiting and anticipating, please do not hesitate to make your needs known.
May the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
August 6, 2021
In viewing the Olympic Games, I have found myself feeling a bit nostalgic as I reflect upon my days as an athlete. Now, my days as an athletic person are not necessarily over, but they are definitely less given the surgeries I've had on my arm and hip over the last two years.
One of the things I enjoy most about the Olympics is observing the relationships between coaches and athletes; it reminds me of the coaches I had the privilege of learning from over the years.
Even though each coach had his or her own style and coaching philosophy, they all shared one rule in common: NO COMPLAINING.
In volleyball, complaints = running laps or ladders.
In skating, complaints = laps or push-ups (yes, push-ups on ice!)
In softball, complaints = being benched for an inning
In soccer, complaints = sprints
Needless to say, my teammates and I learned quickly to refrain from complaining, or at least to wait until we were home and not around the coach.
"Complain" is a word that shows up twice in this Sunday's gospel, and it will be one of the themes of this week's sermon. As a friendly reminder, there will once again be two opportunities to worship this Sunday - 10:00 AM at Buckeye Woods and 6:30 PM at St. Matthew.
I invite you to join us for either or both of these experiences as we come together to celebrate and give thanks to God for the gift of unending grace (and not laps or push-ups) that we have been given through Jesus, despite the fair share of complaining we do as members of a beautifully broken humanity.
Peace be with you,
June 11, 2021
When I was about 7 or 8 years old, my pediatrician told my parents that I was "on track" to stand at approximately 5'7-5'8" tall when I was finished growing.
If you've met me in person, or even observed me from a worship video, you know that his prediction (which came from a fancy formula and digital growth chart) did not come to fruition - not even close.
I've thought about his hypothesis from time to time - especially when my (hardly) 5'1'' self attempts to reach something from a shelf or cabinet - and have found myself wondering, "What happened? Why didn't I grow in the way he had anticipated?"
Almost 20 years later, this all remains a mystery. What is not a mystery, though, is that I am exactly who God has created me to be. Even in the midst of any questions, doubts, or curiosities that I may have, (and that pertains to more than just my height), the gift of faith assures me of the promise that God creates with intentionality and purpose, and reminds me that I do not need all of the answers in order to understand.
This week, we will explore how we - people without full understanding - have been called to embrace the mystery of faith and "leave the growth to God."
See you Sunday!
June 4, 2021
“And he replied, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” [Mark 3:33-35]
On the surface, it may seem like Jesus is denouncing his own family, but in reality he is providing a new image and understanding of what it means to be a family connected by the will of God.
This Sunday, we will not only explore what it means to be a part of God’s family, known as the body of Christ, but we will also live into this understanding as we honor several members of our own St. Matthew family.
During the children’s message, we will recognize Kylie, Sydney, Jessica, Kacey, Katelyn, Jeleighna, Aaron, Ethan, Otto and Jonathan, and celebrate their recent graduation from high school.
As a part of this celebration, you are invited to join in a brief time of fellowship following worship (in the parking lot) where you will have the opportunity to congratulate our graduates and wish them well.
Later on in worship, we will also have the joy of dedicating the new altar candles, which have been given in thanksgiving for the many years of service that Leithea Obermeier has given as a member of St. Matthew’s Altar Guild.
What a wonderful day to be the Church: a family, united by the waters of baptism and will of God!
See you Sunday!
April 16, 2021
For those of us who followed the Cleveland Cavaliers during the Lebron James era, perhaps a cloud of chalk and a cool-looking billboard come to mind when you hear the word "witness". I still have a wine and gold "witness" t-shirt in my closet from those days.
Long before Lebron James and Nike collaborated and created the "We are all witnesses" campaign, Jesus spoke the following to his disciples in the 24th chapter of Luke's gospel:
"You are witnesses to these things."
Perhaps Jesus inspired Lebron! (Or maybe not...) Though, one could argue that they shared a similar sentiment about the word "witness" serving as a verb in addition to being a noun. (More on that Sunday.)
Nonetheless, this Sunday's message will center around the responsibility that witnesses have to witness, and will model the art and practice of storytelling as one way of witnessing in today's world.
I look forward to being with you (via a pre-recorded video since I am still recovering, but actively working, at home) on Sunday.
Peace be with you,
April 9, 2021
First and most importantly -thank you for the many prayers, notes, cards, and well wishes you've graciously sent my way over the last few weeks. The gratitude I have for your support is beyond words.
Many of you have inquired as to how my recovery is going following my hip surgery on March 15. (In fact, as I type this blurb, I just received a text message from one of our dear St. Matthew youth asking how I'm feeling. Thanks, Evan!)
Like I shared with Evan, my response to that question could vary quite a bit depending on the day. One thing that remains true, regardless of the day, is the fact that I severely underestimated what this surgery and recovery would entail. Iwholeheartedlybelieved that I would spenda few days in the hospital, a few more on the couch at home, and would be up and moving by Easter. For those of you who attended Easter worship (in-person or virtually), you know that was not the case.
It has been just shy of three weeks from the time that I was discharged from the hospital and I finally have the ability to get myself off of the couch on my own and use crutches to get around. I am still experiencing significant amounts of pain, but it is being managed well with ice and pain medications. I continue to have some difficulty keeping my blood pressure up, but thanks to the aid of family and my dear boyfriend, Austin, I am getting the rest I need for my body to heal -it's just going to require more time and patience than I initially anticipated. (You'd think I'd be better at anticipating that reality by now. I suppose that's optimism at its finest!)
As for mobility, it will still be sometime before I am able to move in a way that would allow for me to carry out worship responsibilities,as I do not begin physical therapy for a few more weeks. With that being said, I anticipate my return to worship being sometime in May. I still have two more months until I can drive, but will continue to conduct my work from home during the week until I can be present in the office sometime in June.
Thank you again for your prayers and support. They, along with God's grace, have sustained me thus far in this recovery and will continue to do so in the weeks and months yet to come.
Peace be with you,