It is a season of transition. I have had the opportunity to serve as the preacher at Berryton United Methodist Church since July 1, 2018. On Sunday, I announced during worship that I have received a new appointment from Bishop Ruben Saenz to serve as the pastor at Susanna Wesley United Methodist Church in Topeka beginning July 1, 2019. I will miss the good people of Berryton and am grateful for the care our family has received from both the church and community. I look forward to meeting the people of Susanna Wesley, learning more about the ministries, traditions, hopes, and dreams of the congregation, and continuing to reach the mission field with the good news of God’s love in Jesus Christ. I am also looking forward to learning from Rev. Maria Campbell who has served Susanna Wesley faithfully these past seven years!
The Staff Parish team at Berryton UMC has been in conversation with our District Superintendent, Rev. Kay Scarbrough, about who will be appointed to serve as the next pastor. We will share that news when it is available. Will you take a moment to pray for our community, congregations, Bishop, District Superintendents and our family?
If you would like to get or stay connected with me, here are a few ways:
Website – You can follow my personal website and blog right here at www.AndrewConard.com. I have written on a wide variety of topics over the years and will continue to write in the days ahead
It is not often that I confess in writing. Most often, I confess verbally.
There is something different about putting your sins down on paper. Seeing the words on the page makes them more tangible and seem more ugly. The sheet of paper is filled up with things of which I am not proud in my life. Yet, it is also cleansing. There is something powerful in naming the places where I have messed up and am in need of God’s grace.
I have written a prayer of confession on Ash Wednesday for thirteen years. Sometimes, it seems, that I find myself writing some of the same things from year to year. All too often, I seem to cling unintentionally to some of the thoughts, words, and actions which separate me from God and other people. There are areas where God has been at work to help me make progress and there are new areas which I have not found necessary to confess in years past. All of this is part of the journey of going on toward perfect love of God and neighbor.
Each of the years that I have written my prayers in this way, I have also had the opportunity to place them in a fire to be burned. This is a cleansing ritual and helps me begin the journey toward Easter. I am so glad to be on this journey again.
Remember you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
Last Sunday, a member of the congregation asked me why I park so far away from the church building. So, in this edition of frequently asked questions for the preacher, here goes: I park far away from the entrance for two reasons – the mission field and my health.
The mission field is the community to which I have been appointed. There are just over 18,000 people that live within five miles of Berryton United Methodist Church. Over 10,000 of these people are not involved in a religious congregation or community. This is the mission field.
Parking away from the entrance to the building makes sure that there are spaces that are closer for people who may show up for the first time that day. I want to do everything that I can to help welcome people who come to the congregation and a little closer parking spot may help. Also, as I am walking toward the building I am mindful of the cars that will fill the lot and pray for all those that will gather for worship. The walk also offers time to consider those in our community who are not yet connected with a congregation. I am able to reflect on these persons and consider how the choices that I make as a leader in this congregation is helping share God’s love with those who have not yet heard.
Also, I want to stay as healthy as I am able. One healthy habit that I track is parking at the far end of the parking lot each day. This small step adds activity to my day and health to my life.
So, why do I park far away? For a healthy congregation and body.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14, NIV).
These words are very familiar to me. I remember hearing them before every Sunday sermon that my Dad preached. I do not remember wondering about their origin while I was growing up. I heard them as a prayer both for the congregation and for the preacher. While I don’t preach on a regular basis in my current role, I believe that this prayer from the Psalms while be part of the regular ritual when I am in a role of preaching every week.
No matter how you refer to this day, it is one on which we remember the pivotal event in human history – Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, suffered and died in a way that was redemptive for all creation.
Resurrection Online is looking for people to be part of building a Christian community online where non religious and nominally religious people are becoming deeply committed Christians. Here are some ways that you can get involved…
If you are in the Kansas City area, you can connect with missions opportunities at www.cor.org/missions. If you are outside the Kansas City area or unable to participate in those opportunities, will you please consider one of the following opportunities to serve?
Facebook Moderator: As a Facebook Moderator, you will read and respond, in a loving way to Facebook messages and ensure all comments are responded to quickly.
Facebook Prayer Partner: As a Prayer Partner you will pray for services while they are live and send daily prayer messages to those connected with the Resurrection Online Facebook page.
Social Media Editor: As a Social Media Editor you will modify eNote and notes from worship to compose social media posts. You will design social media posts to be conversational and include links in posts that allow further exploration on posted content.
Tech Admin: As a Tech Admin, you will upload posts from the Social Media Editors into HootSuite and schedule them for publication.
If you are in the Kansas City area, you can get connected with opportunities to serve by visiting www.cor.org/missions. If you are living outside the Kansas City area, you may consider serving in person in one of the following ways:
Helping an elderly person with work around their yard or home.
Will you consider ways to bless your neighbors or serve others in your local community? If you are serving God in your community through Resurrection Online will you please mail Pastor Andrew Conard to share your story?