Our vacation finished in grand fashion with Nancy’s daughter Arisa and family joining Saisha and Janae for the final weekend of our time away. We had a full Saturday as we hiked Henwallow Falls in the Smokey Mountain National Park and then caught the Smokey Mountain Opry show. Our Grandchild Ava was a thrill to watch as the costumes, animals and special effects mesmerized her. She fell in love with one of the singer/dancers who had a strong resemblance to Elsa from the movie Frozen and she asked if it was okay to give her a hug after the show when the cast greeted us in the lobby. I’ve not had many two-week vacations during my ministry because it is so hard to get away for that length of time, but I think I need to do it more often. It seems to take me a few days to unwind which only leaves a few good days of real relaxation. Anyway, it was a good feeling to be to be ready to get back to work for what I believe is going to be a very intense month.
And so far this week has been a whirlwind, which is usually the case when you come off vacation. Our biggest news this week is our Hispanic Support Team met with the pastor Sergio Reyes is recommending to grow our Hispanic worshipping community. Saul Sauceda and his wife Irma are quite a team. He has significant church planting experience in Minnesota and Chicago and speaks excellent English. He is currently living in Elsa, Texas and, interestingly, is from Reynosa, Mexico, which is where we build homes each year for Faith Ministry. Saul’s experience and skills warrant more than the part-time salary we have put together with the Conference grant so the Church Development team is working on some additional employment and funding for Saul while we work on housing options. Our hope is to have things in place by July 1, if not sooner. If you know of a good house to rent please let me know.
You might be interested in knowing that Rev. Jen Gibbs has begun preparing for her ministry at Old Bethel. She met with our 9:30 Worship Planning Team and Staff last Tuesday while I was on vacation. She was a part of the Hispanic Ministry meeting this week and has offered to take the first stab at revising the grant proposal with some input from Pastor Matthew and myself. Pastor Jen met with June Hannah for two hours yesterday, getting July’s worship plans in place and she was a part of the Mayor’s Warren Township Ministers’ Roundtable which met on Wednesday as well. Jen and I shared a second two-hour lunch as she continues to gather information on Old Bethel’s history and ministries. We plan to meet at least one more time to discuss our previous efforts to increase the spirit of extravagant generosity at Old Bethel.
I have learned that I need to clear up a misunderstanding. Those of you on Facebook may have noticed that my Facebook Profile page had changed to “Employed at Noblesville First UMC.” Some wondered if I was making a statement or that I was implying my work at Old Bethel is done. That is far from the case. My ignorance of Facebook shows here, as I had a free day and decided to update all my log-ins and passwords on various websites while I had the time. You see my email at Old Bethel will cease June 30 and my personal email address has filled with so much spam that I decided to start a new account. When I went to the Facebook Profile edit page it invites you to put your full work history so I decided to add Noblesville First to the page while I was thinking of it. I didn’t realize that on the front page it hides the rest of the places of employment and ONLY shows your latest entry. So I see the misunderstanding but believe me I am still very much involved with Old Bethel and am doing everything I can to see that our momentum continues until Pastor Jen gets here. And just like Jen is preparing for her ministry here, I am having necessary conversations with Noblesville staff and key leaders. With churches the size of Old Bethel and Noblesville First, you can’t just walk in on the first day and expect your ministry to start well. Both Pastor Jen and I want to hit the ground running.
This Sunday will be a unique one, as Bishop Coyner has asked us to use this day for Encouraging the Call to ministry. Pastor Matthew and Nathaniel will each share how they felt the call to ministry and I will share my own call and some thoughts with how God calls all of us to a specific form of ministry. I think you will appreciate the personal approach we are taking with this opportunity. I will invite you at the end of the service to consider where God might be calling you. In preparation, read Luke 10:1-3.
See you Sunday,
Rev. Jerry Rairdon