A Season of Change

By Rev. Keith Turman | 2021-06-25 | 4 min read

We said goodbye to Scott today. The sadness, fear and joy are all familiar to me. Sometimes when we say “yes” to God, the change that comes can be quite dramatic. It can be a bit scary—this chasing after God-inspired dreams—but the adventure is always crazy good. As Scott, Lauren and Ava Leigh find their way to Dawsonville, Georgia, you may be wondering what road awaits FUMC. What’s on the horizon for us? Well for starters, Kathy McNeil, now the interim Director of Music and Worship Arts, is already teaming up with Rev. Becky Brown to lead us through this season of change. So we can sleep well tonight—we are in gifted and capable hands.

But as we all know, change can be a disturbance in the force that pushes us deeper into our well-established boxes enabling us to keep a safe distance from the edges of our beloved and familiar boundaries. One thing I quickly learned when I became your pastor four years ago—FUMC Waynesville doesn’t operate that way. Around here, it seems the only reason change keeps a person up at night is because the dreams are so exciting. So once again, instead of trying to replace a few words or rewrite a few sentences, I find myself in a process that starts with a blank page—and lots of questions. We are in a season of opportunity. But before we can answer the “who” question, we must have a clear sense of the “what” and the “why.” Surrounded by large sheets of paper plastered to the walls, a ministry team huddles up in the office. Someone with legible handwriting and a fresh magic marker moves to the blank page, and the questions start to fly: “What do you do?” “Why do you do that?” “What’s working?” “What needs to change?” “What do you wish you could do?” “What does our community need us to be?” The process touches every area of ministry—most every aspect of our life together. It is important for us to be clear about who God is calling us to be in this place at this time. It is also important for you to know that this entire process moves gently—with love and respect and sometimes awe at the rich tradition, history and life of this congregation in our community.

Slow and lengthy pandemic life is now accelerating back to the things we’ve loved and missed—like smiles and hugs, dinner with friends and in-person worship. But we can’t move back too quickly into business as usual, lest we miss this season to change and become better. For example, our measured approach has helped us realize that congregational care is now a bigger thing for us, so Rachel Sease will lead the Congregational Care Team on a full-time basis, and Katie Seymour will become our interim Director of Children’s Ministries. The same applies to our Sunday morning worship schedule. We’ve have eased back into a rhythm that begs the question: “What happened to the 8:30 service?” The short answer: nothing has happened—yet. Our Sunday morning schedule will face the scrutiny of the “questions,” and you will have a chance to grab the marker and fill the blank page with your dreams.

The Leadership Team is currently forming a search committee, and the search committee will create opportunities for your voice to be heard. So hope your hopes and dream your dreams and be ready to color the page. Our hope is that when we begin searching, we’ll know “who” we’re looking for.

God says through the prophet Jeremiah, “When you call upon me and come pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, I will let you find me says the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:12-14a). Finding God can be a bit scary—but we’ll be in God’s hands—so the adventure will be crazy good. I pray that you sleep well tonight. Tomorrow is going to be a good day.

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