Dear Members and Friends,
Happy Easter! Grace and peace to you in the name of our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who was, and is, and will always be the rock of our faith and the source of our strength! And so Easter is far more than one day, and it is even more than a season. As Christians, we are Easter people, and so every day, for us, is Easter.
This year, the Easter Season is surely a season of new beginnings, as Mark and I are preparing to return to Maine and our families at the end of June. Bishop Mark Webb and Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar have announced their intention that I be appointed to serve in the New England Conference, at Union Church of Belgrade Lakes UMC, effective July 1. In Belgrade Lakes, we will be between one and two hours from all of our family members who live in Maine (which is nearly all of them). I say we are preparing to return, but in reality, we have lived in Upstate New York for 35+ years, and I moved to Rochester, New York weeks after graduating from college. Mark and I have never lived together in our own home in Maine! And so this move feels much bigger to us than merely a “return” to our home state! It also feels “big” because of the mixed emotions it carries – the sadness that comes with leaving a place and a people that we have enjoyed and loved, and by which we have been loved so well by all of you; and the joy that comes with a long-anticipated homecoming.
Speaking of joy, I am beyond joyful that I will be leaving Centenary UMC in very capable and loving hands, as on July 1, you will welcome Rev. Leanne Zeck. The same prayerful discernment process that brought me to you has been used to identify her as your next pastor. I have come to know Leanne quite well over the past several years, and she is indeed capable, creative, and loving.
As a United Methodist faith community, we are part of a connectional, itinerant system. This means that in the UMC, individual churches are freed from the need to find their own pastors. The Bishop and the District Superintendents of the Conference have the responsibility to appoint pastors to serve churches and the communities in which they live. In this time of transition, I offer you words of hope from Scripture, from the apostle Paul: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth…According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it.” I have faith that God will be with us in this time of transition in our ministries
To God be the glory for the great things God has done, and is doing!!
Together in Christ’s Love and Service,
Pastor Eleanor Collinsworth