Dear Cedar Grove UMC family,
Greetings from Myrtle Beach! We've had a wonderful week away at the Convocation on the Rural Church. The Convocation actually ended on Wednesday, so yesterday for the first time I was able to join Christine and the boys on the beach. We've had a great time, and the Convocation was awesome. Thanks to Brad Thie and his staff for putting on such a terrific conference. It was great spending time with pastors of rural congregations from the North Carolina and Western North Carolina annual conferences, and celebrating the gift of God's grace that is the rural church. At most conferences, the emphasis seems to be on larger and more urban congregations, and the rural church is treated as the step-sibling on the outside. This week, we rural churches were the focus, and we were able to witness the great work being done for the kingdom of God in our settings. We were also inspired to maintain focus on Sabbath as we carry forth in our ministries.
At the convocation, I was blessed to run into several former CGUMC interns who are now pastors in local church settings. Laura Beach is in her 4th year serving Longtown UMC in Yadkin County. She was actually a facilitator during the breakout group sessions at the convocation. Jane Almon was also here, and is continuing her great pastoral ministry at Marvin UMC. I also saw Kevin Miller and his family. Kevin did not serve as our intern, but you will remember that he and his family worshiped at CGUMC while Kevin attended Duke. Kevin is in his second year of full-time pastoral ministry. Each of these pastors expressed their appreciation for their time at CGUMC and remarked at how their time with us was formative in their pastoral callings. I just wanted you to know that you are making a difference in lives of people in the N.C. Conference, the Western NC Conference, and conferences throughout the U.S. because of your nurturing of future church leaders and pastors. What a great ministry we have as we serve as a focal point for raising up leaders in the church!
Our vacation continues this weekend as Christine and I celebrate our 12th anniversary on Sunday. Each day, I become more aware of the blessing that she is to my life. Twelve years later, we are just twelve years more in love with each other. Thank you for allowing us the time away to celebrate our anniversary.
On Sunday, you will be blessed to have Don Logner preaching during the 10:30 a.m. worship service. Don will be preaching on “Walking with Grace,” using the wonderful passage from Matthew 14 where Jesus walks on the water toward the disciples. I know you will be blessed by his message! As Christine and I worship on Sunday, our prayers will be with you as you gather for worship.
Well, that's all for now. I love you, Cedar Grove UMC, and this week I have been reminded of why I am so honored to serve as your pastor. At every opportunity, I have shared with others how we are loving God and loving our neighbor together at CGUMC.