To My Beloved Faith Family

Ecclesiastes 3:1 NRSV

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven….

Forty years ago from this coming Monday (May 16) – beside Pactola Lake in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota – a young man named Mark invited a young woman named Shannon to go on the adventure of life with him. She said “yes.” And the wild ride of life was set in motion.

We trusted in our shared love of each other and our shared love of God. Into the world we went, sharing those loves with others. We have gone through many seasons together. Our most recent season has been our three years serving Christ here at Peachtree City United Methodist Church.

When we came, it was an uncertain time. Do you remember? We felt many of you thinking (sometimes to yourselves and sometimes out loud) do we trust him? Into that quandary, we came faithfully with our shared loves. Immediately, we ran into so many questions:

Pactola Lake in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Why is he telling so many stories in sermons you asked? We don’t like it.

Why does he use the sign of the cross at the sending forth you asked? We don’t like it.

Why does he want to teach United Methodist 101 you asked? We don’t like it.

Why does he keep calling our church a “place of grace” you asked? We don’t like it.

Why is he so excited and what is this “Woo Hoo” all about you asked? We don’t like it.

With time, you fell into shared love with us as you began to see all those things you questioned as part of the unique way we engage people into our two loves – our love of each other and our love of God.

About the time all those questions you had about me began to be seen as good things, our entire world spun into a global pandemic. Then George Floyd was murdered in front of the world’s eyes and people disagreed as to what they just witnessed. Covid 19 was not the only virus claiming lives in our world. The virus of racism came into full view and it set our entire world on fire once again. Then came a contentious presidential election followed by an insurrection at the very heart of our nation’s democracy.

Through it all, we did our best to lovingly and consistently guide you with grace. Now, it’s time to reset. The world has changed. Our lives have changed. We have all changed. And now it is time to start anew in our ongoing effort to glorify and honor God.

It’s time to begin a new WONDERFUL season at Peachtree City UMC. I have full confidence in the one that God is now sending to be your spiritual leader. Rev. Matt Stone and his family are just the right people at just the right time in the ongoing story that is PTCUMC. Speaking from my perspective of these last three years, I ask three things from all of you. Encourage him. Trust him. Follow Him.

Why? Because God has a plan! (Hey, that would make for a really good sermon!!!)

And the good news is God wants YOU to be part of God’s plan with Matt.

May Your shared ministry be blessed and multiplied by the Holy Wind of God!

God’s Peace,