ULC Update for May 2020

ULC Update for May 2020

MAY 31, 2020

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The God of the Unexpected

When I was asked to fill a one-year opening on the church’s Unified Leadership Council, I agreed because I expected it was going to be a year of challenges for our specific church family and the entire United Methodist denomination. I thought my experience here could be useful in working through those outcomes.  

That was in late January. At my first ULC meeting – February, second Tuesday as usual – Pastor Gary told us he was being reassigned, and we were to have a new pastor. A flurry of activity. Five meetings in four weeks. New pastor identified; transition plans started. A brief sense of calm, knowing the familiar patterns involved in pastoral leadership changes.

And then mid-March came and with it the Coronavirus, and everything froze in place. In-person worship was suspended. Preschool, church school, small groups, all temporarily halted. Holy Week and Easter were rapidly approaching, but we weren’t sure what those celebrations would look like. The July 1 pastoral transition would happen as scheduled, but we weren’t sure what it would involve.

Now it is almost June, and we are – all of us, as individuals and as churchgoers and church staff and leadership— trying to “figure things out” as we move out of crisis mode into a sustained new reality.

This was not what I expected. Not what any of us expected. 

But step by step, we have moved forward and in amazing ways. And when I took out my Bible this morning and began paging through it looking for scripture passages about dealing with the unexpected, I realized that as far back as the Bible takes us, ours has been a God of the unexpected. Noah. Abraham. Moses. Joshua. Into the New Testament: the Disciples, Paul, Ananias. It’s a long list of lives not proceeding in the usual, anticipated way. But with each occasion of surprise and chaos and disruption, God shows up to offer direction. If we ask and if we listen and if, of course, we do as instructed.  

Over the past months (I forget how many, time has taken on a different pace), church staff and lay leaders and members of the Unified Leadership Council have done just that. Have asked in thoughtful prayer, sought the wisdom of each other and others outside our circle, and acted as we believe God is directing us to act. I suspect and hope that much the same is true for you.  

As God said to Isaiah: Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Our God may be the God of the Unexpected, but God does not leave us to work out these things alone. 

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Susan Pigott

ULC Class of 2020