11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.12 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[c] to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” 1 Thessolonians 5:11-13
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I hope you have had a restful summer with family quality time and moments of fun and relaxation.
In August I was grateful for a few days of personal study retreat at Kingswood, a United Methodist camp in Hancock, NY. It was a new experience for me to spend such an extended time alone – particularly outside in nature. I was amazed at how much work I accomplished without the distractions of phone and Internet. It was a quite a gift to have time and space to work on preparing my reflections and theological papers for the ordination committee. Kingswood is a tremendous resource in our United Methodist connection and I encourage you to look into it as an option for your family vacation next year.
On my final day, I ventured over to the “Stone Ministry” site that I had heard about. It is an outdoor cathedral that is being build stone by stone by visitors to Kingswood. We each washed our selected stone and as it dried we prepared the cement together. With chalk we wrote the name of the person or prayer our stone represented. And then we prayerfully brought the stone to be placed where it best fit to cement it together with the surrounding stones. The cathedral is expected to be a 40 year project built camper by camper. My stone was dedicated to Asbury and filled a gap near the top of the structure.
As we return to our fall routines, I wonder . . . what is the stone you will prayerfully bring to Asbury this year? Where are the gaps you see in the church or community that God is calling you to fill? Are there bigger stones that you can help someone else carry? From ministry to finance to leadership development to building maintenance, each one of us is part of the foundation of this body of Christ called Asbury. I give thanks for you as we work together to be the church in the world for the glory of God in Jesus’ name.