July 2016

I usually come back from Annual Conference with mixed emotions. On one hand I’m glad it’s over. On the other hand, I’m usually irritated about something. This year is a little different for some reason. While I am still glad it’s over, I don’t find myself as irritated as usual. I am however a little bit nervous as we will be getting a new bishop at the end of July.

Bishop Bickerton was here for T2 years. That’s a long time. In that time you get used to things being a certain way. A new bishop represents change. Change could be good. But there is always a level of uncertainty that comes with getting a new bishop. Bishops do a lot of things. But from a church standpoint, the most noticeable thing they do is to appoint pastors. I am excited to learn that I have been appointed back to PLUM for another year of service.

One of the uncomfortable parts of being in ministry in the United Methodist Church is that all appointments are for one year at a time. So every year, there is the potential for movement. As I talked with many of my colleagues who are moving this year, many of them are excited about moving and making a fresh start. The more I talked to them, the more I realized that I really don’t want to move for a while. I love being part of the community at Purchase Line.

At the same time, I am also looking forward to a fresh start. We have done a lot of work here at PLUM that I am proud of. I love where we’ve been. I love who we are. I am excited about where we are going. But the question now becomes, “Where are we going?” What is the future going to look like at PLUM? While I am not entirely sure, I hope that we ALL can work together to build that future. We are planning, very soon, to do some refocusing and re-visioning. God has big plans for us. He has given us so much and He is expecting us to build His Kingdom_ stay tuned PLUM. Joshua told the Israelites in 3:5, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you» God is going to do amazing things among us PLUM!!!

Blessings,
Pastor Raymond

June 2016

One of the verses to the song Amazing Grace goes like this, “Through many dangers, toils and shares, I have already come. Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far and grace will lead me home.” I believe most of us, when we sing this part of the song can think of various dangers, toil and shares we have had in our lives. In each of those times, there were no doubt moments when you wondered how you would get through a certain situation.

In the life of our church here at PLUM, we have certainly experienced times of tribulation as well. Life is full of ups and downs, dangers, toils and shares. When it was all said and done, after you have gotten through the situation, you look back and you realize that it was only by the grace of God * that you had indeed made it through.

That’s why grace is amazing and why we sing about it like we do. God is in the business of taking care of us. He is after all our Heavenly Father. When Jesus taught us to pray, He said, “Our Father…” While we are not immune to dangers, toils and shares, we can rest assured that we have a Father in Heaven who is looking out for us with His amazing grace. Our earthly fathers do their best to take care of us, but it is our Father in Heaven who pours out His grace to see us safely through every danger, toil and snare.

Sometimes we forget that He has called us to share it with those who don’t know Him. They go through many of the same struggles in life that we do and they do so without knowing this amazing grace. Everyone needs to know that they have a Father in Heaven who desires to love them. He wants to save them from their sin and take care of them, the same way He takes care of us. He wants to be their Father too.

Happy Father’s Day,

Pastor Raymond