From the District Superintendent

Come Home

Posted 16 December, 2019 by Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster

I'll be Home for Christmas and Please Come Home For Christmas are among the songs that have looped through my car radio during this last week.  Each one has echoed a desire, a hope, or a plan to go home, to come home, to be home. 

As those tunes ran through my mind I remembered a moment in the midst of difficulty (my husband Harold was dealing with excruciating back pain while that same week the church I served had been flooded and had sewage backup). As I drove back to our house late in the afternoon I knew I needed to run into a grocery store so instead of turning into our neighborhood I kept going east. As I rounded a curve in the road I saw the Blue Ridge Mountains ahead and could make out the ribbon of highway through the gap. I felt an overwhelming sense that if I could get over or past the mountains, I could get "home" and everything would be better. As soon as I realized what I was feeling I laughed out loud; there was no home on the other side of the mountains to go to. My mother, who had outlived my father by seventeen years, had been dead almost a decade. The property where we grew up had been sold to a developer who had leveled the old house. It was now a greenspace in a newly developed community.  But how visceral my hope that "home" would solve these situations that were overwhelming me.

The scriptures attest to that hope also. To the people in exile, Jeremiah prophesies: 

The LORD proclaims: When Babylon's seventy years are up, I will come and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the LORD; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope. 12 When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you. 13 When you search for me, yes, search for me with all your heart, you will find me. 14 I will be present for you, declares the LORD, and I will end your captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have scattered you, and I will bring you home after your long exile, declares the LORD. (Jeremiah 29:10-14)

Who in your community needs for you to extend an invitation to come home? How can your congregation be "home" for those who feel exiled and far away? What specific actions can you take to extend a warm invitation and a sincere welcome?

In the peace and hope of Christ, who makes a home among us,

Kathleen

In November, I: 

  • Worshipped with St Mark's UMC
  • Conducted 3 Cluster Charge Conferences with 8 churches 
  • Attended Cabinet Annual Conference Planning Team, Strategic Visioning Steering Team meeting, Ordained Ministry Full Board Meeting, and Common Table Personnel Committee Meetings
  • Attended District Committee on Ordained Ministry, Kids Soar Board Meeting, and Board of Mission Executive Committee meetings
  • Convened District Conference
  • Participated in 5-Talent Academy Learning Days and the Southeastern Jurisdiction Clergywomen's Consultation
  • Led Staff/Pastor Parish Relations Committee Training 
  • Consulted with laity and clergy in person, by phone, and through email 
  • Enjoyed holiday with family