Welcoming New Neighbors

05.13.22 | by Rev Danita Anderson

This is the season of the year where families are moving.  Especially in the United Methodist Church, pastors and their families begin the process of "closing" ministry in one church related setting preparing to move to the next.  This is known  as itinerancy.  We, clergy types take a vow at our ordination (which for me happened in 1983!) to support the itinerant ministry of the United Methodist Church. This means that we agree to go where we are sent (not where we apply or are "called" as in other denominations).  The practice of itinerant ministry dates back in our history to the 1800's where Methodist clergy, known as circuit riders, would travel (usually on horseback) from town to town either starting new churches, visiting existing churches, conducting baptisms and serving communion.  Us modern day Circuit Riders usually begin preparing to move to another town about this time of year, getting ready for the next adventure!! 

Many families experience this same process of moving from one home to another around this time of year.  Some parents are looking at these next several weeks as a time to prepare a son/daughter to move to a college campus.  Even couples looking forward to moving to a home.  Lots of transition during this time of year. 

What does it mean to us as believers to hear that our God has "moved into the neighborhood" (according to The Message translation)?  What kind of welcoming committee will be there for that initial greeting?  Will we look like that Staff-Parish Committee that comes on "moving day" to greet (and sometimes inspect) the new Circuit Rider?  Will the approach be similar to looking for a college roommate or the courtship of a new spouse? 

I invite you to think about "WELCOMING NEW NEIGHBORS" and what our approach should be based on the Gospel writer's perspective.  He writes that the instruction of Jesus was to "love one another".  A true "welcome" comes from the heart and extends to others as we would want to be welcomed!!  Let's talk some more about this on Sunday at 10:00 a.m..  Join us in person or on YouTube.

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