Musing 3.5.21

MUSING 3.5.2021

This will be less of a musing and more of an endorsement. Since I announced my retirement in September of last year, I have wondered who Bishop Palmer would appoint to follow me. This past Wednesday Rev. Becky Piatt was announced as the new senior pastor at King Avenue United Methodist Church. At present Becky is serving Bexley UMC. This appointment pleases me for the sake of both King Avenue and Becky.

This summer a long time King Avenue couple told me they had moved to Bexley. Because they wanted to walk to church, they would be transferring from King Avenue to a church in Bexley. Did I have a church to recommend? Without reservation I urged them to try the UM church because its senior pastor “was really good.” Who knew?! I have known Becky since I have been at King Avenue going back to her days at Church of the Savior in Westerville. She is thoughtful in that she thinks and cares. She is affirming, humorous, and fun. She is balanced in that she is open minded, stable, and poised. She is an asset in meetings for the insight and energy she brings. Most important, she is committed to Christ and his inclusive ministry of love and reconciliation. So I am happy for King Avenue.

I am also happy for Becky. King Avenue is a great church. When I announced my retirement, I wrote,

“You are the congregation I dreamed of serving when I was in seminary. You are a sanctuary of grace, inclusion, and acceptance. You are the body of Christ representing God’s love in fellowship and mission. You are a place of joy and hope for all people. You also take joy and hope beyond this place to the community and world. You offer God’s grace and peace to all. You share the gift. King Avenue is the high note on which all ministers should be privileged to retire.”

Even in this age of online and livestreaming, what I said is still true. Your response to the future of the church as evidenced by the comprehensive campaign has been extraordinary. Continued participation and commitment to worship, meetings and classes have been so encouraging. Becky will find herself in a wonderful place.

The transition of pastors is always an apprehensive time for churches and pastors. During the pandemic it is aggravated by the lack of in-person gathering opportunities. It is hard to grieve and rejoice online and via zoom. I don’t envy pastors who are moving. Please hold Bexley UMC in your prayers as it grieves Becky’s departure. Please hold Becky in your prayers for the sadness she holds in leaving Bexley and for the joy she holds in coming to King Avenue. Please hold our church in your prayers for a healthy transition. I shall hold you in my prayers as you accept Becky with the warmth and hospitality with which you accepted me. It was a gift to me; it will be a gift to her.

Be safe and well.