From Pastor Jeanette
July 1 will begin my fourth year as the pastor of Cape May UMC. Let me share why this is a good thing. I hope you will join this inclusive congregation to worship and find meaning through Jesus Christ and the relationships that exist. Despite the struggle in our denomination, we will be keepin’ on, keepin’ on.
During the seasons of Easter and Lent, the gospel lectionary readings focused on John and the exhortation to love our neighbor, to abide in God’s love and the continued promise of the Holy Spirit to be with us until Christ’s return. To say “God is love,” sounds like a catch phrase from the 70’s, but truly God is love. Jesus emptied himself onto the cross that all of humanity may receive the gift of salvation. May 20 is the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-12), when the gift of the Holy Spirit is received on the gathered assembly of devout Jews from every nation (Acts 2:5).
So how did we get so dysfunctional as Christians? Why do we wish to worship doctrine rather than the Word? Why can’t we love? The scriptural passage from John 16:12-13 has stayed with me over the last several months as I ponder what it truly means today. It says, “I (Jesus) still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth; for he will not speak on his own, but will speak whatever he hears, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.” (Emphasis mine.)
Are we closing off the Word of God by our reluctance to have an open heart and mind? Are we assuming we know all there is to know about God and we don’t need the intervention of the Spirit? Are we even still reading the Word of God?
We have posted elsewhere on this website Bishop Schol’s letters. The first explains the Council of Bishop’s recent recommendations to the special session of General Conference to be held in February, 2019. The second is his response to the voting on the constitutional amendments. The outcome of the voting does not hold men and women as equals. We have to remember that the United Methodist Church is a global church; not just an American church and so the voting reflects different countries’ and cultures’ understanding of gender equality. This is disappointing, hurtful and unbelievable.
As a female ordained Elder, I have experienced my share of gender discrimination in the church. But I hang on to my love of Christ and John 18: “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me before it hated you.” Through the discrimination, I have always prayed that I be taught what I am meant to learn through the storm. And together, my congregations and I, have had pretty successful ministries giving glory to God. I believe in the theme from Jeremiah: face the storm, respond (not react) to the issues and find and proclaim the hope within them.
We are blessed together at Cape May as I have shared with them that this is the first appointment that gave me the best first year in ministry I have ever experienced. As we go into our fourth year together, I am pleased to pastor this loving group of people. We have our issues and our differing theologies, but there is room in our congregation for everyone. This is a group that welcomes all, loves all and cares for all.
We are still worshipping at 11:00 on Sunday mornings, with Sunday School at 9:45; however, beginning June 3, our Cove service begins at 8 at the beach and our traditional service will start at 10:30 a.m. through December 30. Join us!! Let’s be fruitful for Christ together.
P.O. Box 472 – 635 Washington Street
Cape May, New Jersey 08204