Blue skies; tall pine trees; green oak trees; peaceful Stony Brook reservoir; a little hot for early summer; sunlight; fresh air with a little breeze; migrant and resident singing birds; and warm and welcoming people on my first Sunday morning here at Westford UMC! With great expectation and a little anxiety, I opened a new chapter of my life and ministry here.
Over the last seven years, I have visited 65 churches, worshiping as a district superintendent, supervising pastors and churches, and cheerleading them to be the church of Jesus Christ in their communities. Each Sunday, I wondered where I would go and what I would do: checking the troubled church or helping the sick pastor, encouraging a depressed community or learning from new-born flourishing non-denominational churches. Whether driving two and half hours to Provincetown UMC on Cape Cod, or 5 minutes to Epworth UMC in Pawtucket, RI on Sunday for worshipping God. It was quite a challenging routine. Though exciting at first, as time went by, it was an unsettling and lonely journey as a worshipper, meeting different people at different communities every Sunday. I missed having a stable and deep relationship with worshiping people. I liked the churches and loved the people where I visited -- but it was just visitation, a one-time event. It was not enough to see them once a year in a church meeting setting.
Finally, I feel at home. Home sweet home, with my own people to love and to be loved. I now look forward to Sunday and meeting the same people to whom I am entrusted, and to worship God together in the same place Sunday after Sunday. I am so grateful for this special privilege.
Dear friends! Thank you for being my family and thank you for your generosity to accept me as your companion in this journey on earth. I will be there for you again with a great feast of the word of God this coming Sunday. I look forward to seeing whoever can join us as we worship together.
Your pastor, Seok-Hwan
P.S. The sermon this Sunday will be on the benefits of becoming a Christian. It has been my main task as a pastor to show the greatness of the Gospel in an ordinary language. I have chosen five phrases--“Thank you! Forgive me! Teach me! I love you! And be with me!” With these simple phrases, we can experience the depth of Christian life and the height of being a Christian.