Pastor's Blog: One on One - Book 6, Volume 46

Last Friday we celebrated graduation #2 with Saisha in Nashville where she received her Masters from the Peabody School of Education at Vanderbilt University. It was a rather hot day with people ignoring the formalities and dragging their chairs to nearby shade. It was followed by an amazing reception of food and champagne. They do things differently at Vanderbilt. We spent a second day in Nashville to enjoy some time together and for the girls to celebrate Mother’s Day a day early with their mother. In the afternoon, Nancy and I headed to The Hermitage just outside Nashville, the home and plantation of President Andrew Jackson. He was known as the people’s president. What was fascinating was that in spite of being a slave owner he was someone who championed the cause of the common person. We then headed for my brother’s place in Knoxville where we enjoyed Don and Dianne’s hospitality.

Sunday evening we arrived at our resort near Gatlinburg where we had reserved enough accommodations to host the entire family. It has been a fun week of hiking trails and experiencing water falls with the girls, their significant others and grandson Coen. Yesterday was my birthday and I got to choose the fun for the day. We all went to Wonder Works, a highly interactive series of experiences designed to educate about natural phenomenon. After lunch, we went to the Titanic Museum, which was far better than you might think for a tourist attraction in Pigeon Forge. It featured a number of artifacts rescued from the ship and told many of the stories of the passengers. Each person was given a boarding pass of an actual historical person who was aboard the ship. At the end of the exhibit you discovered if your person survived or not. We have a few days left of our vacation and are looking forward to Nancy’s daughter Arisa, fiancée Nathan and grandchildren Ava and Dain coming down to enjoy some time with us.

Friday and Saturday Bishop Mike Coyner and Doug Anderson are putting on a workshop for pastors and Staff Parish Committee members called Making a Good Move. Old Bethel has a couple of people attending along with Rev. Jen Gibbs. I will not attend but have been reading the book of the same title he wrote a few years ago. Honestly, I wondered if I needed to hear this material because I have made a few moves in my ministry, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised that so far the book is giving me a few things to think about. One insight is the issue of grief. I was surprised to find myself feeling some emotion as I began to think about my last Sunday at Old Bethel; realizing that I will miss many people who have become special to me, people who have inspired my spiritual growth. I also had not thought about the kind of grief people will naturally have no matter how good the new pastor is, because it may be true this new pastor will never know me when my health was good or when my spouse was alive and I was part of a couple. Those things have to be acknowledged and grieved. The book spends a lot of time encouraging the pastor to evaluate carefully how fast or slow you initiate change. There is no hard and fast rule but one is wise to consider these issues carefully.

Don’t forget the UMW Garage Sale today from 8:00am to 6:00pm and tomorrow from 8:00am to 1:00pm.

This Sunday Nathaniel Asperger will be sharing his first sermon with Old Bethel. He is our Family Ministries Assistant and is considering full-time ministry as his career path. Please offer him your prayers and support as he shares the message The Land Ahead of You. In preparation read, Numbers 13:21-33.

Have a great Sunday,

Rev. Jerry

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