From Pastor Matt: “Responding to the Word During Transition: Thanksgiving”

Our lives are shaped by our worship, especially by how we respond to the Word of God proclaimed in our midst. In light of God’s calling for me to leave the UM4GI Parish and serve the churches of David City and Bellwood, for the last three issues of UM4GI News I will be offering some final thoughts for the people and churches UM4GI that are shaped by our responses to the Word: April-Offering and Thanksgiving; May-Communion; June-Sending.

In times of transition, we each experience many of these emotions (in no particular order): hope, anger, joy, fear, sadness, affirmation, frustration, and anticipation. Naming these as we experience them is important for my, and our, spiritual health. As exciting/scary/sad/etc. as it is to be moving, one response to hearing God’s Word in our midst I want to hold close is thanksgiving. We respond to God’s grace in thanksgiving by offering ourselves in ministry.

I’m so very grateful for the seven years God has called me to serve Grand Island’s United Methodists, first at Faith, then with UM4GI, and then with First-Faith as well. I’m grateful for the ways you’ve surrounded my family and I in care as we’ve grown in number and maturity. I’m grateful for the ways you’ve welcomed, challenged, and nurtured each person in our household to grow as disciples and leaders. I’m grateful for your faithfulness, creativity, and drive for making disciples. I’m grateful for you being people and churches that I can playfully brag about to my friends as being awesome churches and communities of inclusion, growth, and vision. And I’m grateful for the steps you are taking in multi-ethnic ministry – showing me and Grand Island glimpses of God’s diverse kingdom in harmony.

May you all continue to respond to God’s Word in thanksgiving and offering for the incoming pastors, and for the community of Grand Island.

Pastor Matt

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