From the District Superintendent

At A Juncture

Posted 13 February, 2020 by Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster

Come and go with me  / To my Father's house/ It's a big, big table / With lots and lots of food / A big, big yard / where we can play football / A big, big house / It's my Father's house (from Big House by Audio Adrenaline)

What a wonderful picture of church! Invitational, expansive, welcoming, extravagant! How I needed to sing this vintage praise song when I was recently introduced to it in worship. Perhaps I had been too focused on strife, disagreement, deep divisions, thin hopes, raw emotions. How I welcomed this reminder of God's graciousness.

Over the last few months, in a season of prayerful discernment, I have tried to be particularly attentive to reminders of God's work, presence, and call.

I remember that thirty-seven years ago this month, dressed in my poppy red suit, I arrived at the Assembly Center in Blackstone, anxiously eager for my first interviews with the Board of Ordained Ministry. I did not know then what shape my own ministry would take. I did not know the particular challenges that would face the church, the nation, the world across that span of time. As I embarked upon this vocation, I could only hopefully anticipate the blessings I would experience. 

And what blessings (and challenges) there have been as a pastor, preacher, superintendent, colleague, leader, and servant. 

Now, I stand again at a juncture anxiously eager and watchfully attentive. I will enter into retirement, following Annual Conference. My husband Harold and I look forward to enjoying time together at our Massanutten home delighting in the deer grazing in the meadow, the squirrels scampering across the deck, and the birds splashing in their baths. I will be trained and certified in On-Boarding this spring and look forward to the opportunities that will emerge to coach lead pastors and churches as they embark on new ministry together.

But my retirement is still months away; and in the meantime we have lots of work to do! 

In Christ's peace and hope,

Kathleen           

In January, I: 

  • Worshipped with Bonsack UMC and Fincastle UMC
  • Attended Bishop's Strategic Visioning Steering Team, Way Forward Work Group, and VITAL Team meetings
  • Participated in Annual Conference Planning Team Meeting
  • Attended Ferrum College's Board of Trustees Retreat
  • Participated in January Cabinet meeting 
  • Attended Conference Board of Ordained Ministry Meeting which interviewed candidates for ordination and associate membership
  • Held annual consultations with 31 District Clergy
  • Attended District Finance Training led by Conference Treasurer David Dommisse
  • Consulted with laity and clergy in person, by phone, and through email