Pastor Stacee, Jeff, Evie and Carys (2012)
My Dear Friends:
I thank God every time I remember you. In all my prayers of you, dear friends, I always pray with joy because of our partnership in the gospel from my first day with you until now.
I have experienced much joy and laughter with you all. We are, after all, partners in the gospel. Partners. Together. I certainly did not “do ministry” in a bubble. We’ve been partners these last 5 years, haven’t we? We didn’t need to be close or know each other well to be partners in the gospel. The gospel’s message of love and grace and forgiveness and justice is a message the world certainly needs to hear.
Many of the events of the last five years definitely expose the deep need in the world for love, grace, forgiveness and justice…
- A gunman shoots 26 people, 20 of whom are children, at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.
- A bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon killing 3 and injuring over 260 people.
- Western Africa Ebola virus outbreak where tens of thousands of people died.
- 276 female students kidnapped from a secondary school in Nigeria.
- An airplane is shot down over Ukraine killed 298.
- A hate crime killing 9 at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
- The world-wide refugee crisis.
- Poisonous water in Flint, Michigan.
. . . Just to name a few.
I am confident, dear friends, what Christ began in you Christ will complete through you. For we are all partners in the Gospel with the Jesus Christ, and the Gospel’s power has many more places to break through.
You never know, dear friends, just how important what you do through Christ is to the kingdom. Think of the Shalom Center. The Wednesday Pantry. The Inter-Faith Winter Shelter. Yes, there is more, much more to do: developing a mission-minded use of that block across the street, promoting and growing the best contemporary worship service in the area (The Open Door!), building relationships with the families and children attending the MCUM Preschool on the first floor of our building. Remember . . . Christ begins in you, Christ will complete through you. It’s what being a partner in the Gospel means.
It’s right for me to think this way about you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me.
People often ask if I’m excited about our next adventure at Muncie High Street UMC. The answer to that question is that vocationally I’m thrilled. Relationally, though? I’m gutted and very, very sad. This is the longest we’ve been at any church. We’ve had the privilege and honor to really dig deep into relationships and friendships over these 5 years. We know, through your words, your gifts and your presence over the years, that we are loved and beloved. Thank you.
For God knows how I long for you with the compassion of Jesus Christ.
This is my prayer for you: that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.
I could say so much more, but I will leave you with this: I love you. I will miss being your pastor. I will always be your friend, your forever partner in the Gospel.
aka Reverend Awesome
Pastor Stacee, Jeff, Carys and Evie (June 2017)
Please join us in saying farewell and showing our appreciation for both Rev. Stacee Fischer Gehring and Miss Alex Lamb:
- Tonight we’ll gather for a pitch-in party in Bryan Park. Bring a dish to share. (Friday, June 16 from 5:30 to 7:30pm at Bryan Park, 1020 S Woodlawn Ave – View Map / Directions)
- This Sunday we’ll have two cookie receptions. (Sunday, January 18th in both the Gathering Place from 8:30 to 9:30am and after The Open Door from 12:15 to 1:00pm)
- If you have not yet contributed to the Love Gift for Rev. Stacee Fischer Gehring and Miss Alex Lamb, please, make your check out to the church for “Love Gift” and indicate how you wish your check to be divided.
New Associate Pastor
Rev. Teri Crouse, our new Associate Pastor, will be with soon. Please take a moment and send her a welcome note. Tell her something about yourself, about our church, and about Bloomington (perhaps even including a gift card to your favorite local store or restaurant). Mail your cards before June 20th to Rev. Teri Crouse, Marquette Park UMC, 215 North Grand Blvd, Gary, IN 46403
This week we’re continuing our sermon series, THE STORY. If you don’t yet have your own copy of THE STORY, you can purchase one from the church office for $10 or order online here. If you’re interested in going deeper, the Adult Companion Guide is also available.