Pastor Blog – Sep. 2021 – “Let’s Talk About Prayer”

Prayer and action are not opposites but complements in the spectrum of responding in faith. Prayer can be a launching pad to action and then a reflection on the action done, and through it all, prayer is a way of being reminded of the presence of the Spirit in what we do. Prayer builds your relationship with God, and it is one line of communication that should never close.

Sincere Blessings,

Pastor Kimberly

Pastor Blog – July 2021

Greetings NFUMC Family and Friends!

So that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.” 1 Corinthians 12:25

Thank you! My family and I appreciate the warm welcome, enthusiasm, prayers, and acts of love shown to us as we prepare to continue God’s work in ministry. We are so delighted for the opportunity to serve. No merger or transition is as comfortable as we would like it to be. However, I believe that God has all power in His hands. I also think that this merger/marriage has a divine purpose, more significant than most can imagine right now. Let us be led by the holy presence of God and open our minds to the numerous possibilities. Continue to pray for me as I pray for you, and we all pray for the Church. 

Blessings always,

Rev. Dr. Kimberly Dugger

Pastor’s Blog – June 2021

Red skies in morning, sailor take warning.  Red skies at night, sailor’s delight.

39 He got up and gave orders to the wind, and he said to the lake, “Silence! Be still!” The wind settled down and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39)

Folks keep asking me why I am choosing to leave.  It is hard for me to put a justification for this decision in a concise, straightforward, statement.  I am very committed to Christ and Wesleyan theology; I hope and pray for the church global and church local to have every success in the mission of making disciples for Jesus.  However, when you begin to disagree more and more with an institution over a longer and longer list of issues, at some point you know when it is best for you, individually, to cut ties. 

Please embrace your next pastor and love her as you did me and my family.  Please do not be angry at anyone, especially your new pastor or the District Superintendent, for my decision; it was mine and not theirs.  In the choppy seas that the skies suggest may lie ahead for the United Methodist denomination, please cling to each other, hold fast to the Savior, and know that you are held tightly in return by the hands of the one who can calm storms with a word. 

God bless and farewell!  Rev. John Tomlin

Pastor’s Blog – May 2021

Sing to the Lord with thanks; sing praises to our God with a lyre!
God covers the skies with clouds; God makes rain for the earth;
God makes the mountains sprout green grass.
God gives food to the animals— even to the baby ravens when they cry out.
10 God doesn’t prize the strength of a horse; God doesn’t treasure the legs of a runner.
11 No. The Lord treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love.                        (Psalm 147:7
–11)

April showers bring May flowers, and what to May flowers bring?  Pilgrims!

As I write this, there is a wonderful, fresh, gentle rain outside.  The rain is alternating back and forth between a steady soak and a quiet drip. I have the porch door open to allow the fresh air, the songs of chirping birds, the gentle rustle of leaves from the occasional breeze, and the peaceful rhythm of the rain into my den.  All these are a welcome comfort after what has been a cycle of storms, pollen, and stress.  There is a golf course tee box behind my house; on days like this I know the golfers, who often loudly share profanities as they comment on the trajectories of their tee shots, will be staying home and dry.  Their absence even more accentuates and compliments the natural symphony in progress.

My house is surrounded by azaleas of many different colors. I also have a rose bush, clusters of irises, daisies, several camelia bushes, and flowers I have not identified yet. (I’m more versed in rocks than plants; I’m working on it.)  There are pine trees, tulip poplars, oaks, persimmon, dogwoods, and my beloved fig tree.  For a while there last month, our property looked as colorful as the land of Oz; the pollen covering our driveway made it the ‘yellow concrete road’.  The blessings of spring’s eruption of life came with watery eyes, several boxes of tissues, and a sneeze or two (hundred). Some side effects we accept as a matter-of-course; we’d much rather have the spring and all that comes with it than a forever season of lifeless cold.

After the long, chilly, winter of Covid, the spring and the roll-out of the vaccine has slowly begun returning life to normal.  While the world and the nation, communities and churches, families and civic groups all try to adjust to the new routine of a world still coping with a disease that continues to sicken and take lives, finding solace in simple blessings, like the sound of a gentle rain and nature, can be lost in the business and noise of life.  We must be intentional, I think, to stop and smell the flowers.  Interestingly, that wise saying is attributed to the golfer Walter Hagen, who said “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” 

The Psalmist of Psalm 147 reminds us “The Lord treasures the people who honor him, the people who wait for his faithful love”. Thank-you, Lord, for seeing us through one of the darkest winters of our lives. Thank-you, Lord, for the spring in progress.  Thank-you, Lord, for Jesus, the Prince of Peace; in this season of Easter, of new life, we honor the sacrifice He made so life is available to us.  We marvel at how much you treasure us; and wait upon your steadfast love.  Amen.

 – Pastor John Tomlin

Pastor’s Blog for April 2021

The Lord’s eyes watch the righteous, his ears listen to their cries for help. (Psalm 34:15)

I spent over half an hour this morning trying to renew my driver’s license online.  This is a service the Department of Driver’s Services (DDS) has introduced for our convenience.  Unfortunately, since my last license renewal, I have been prescribed glasses to help with my long-distance vision and wear them when I go to the theatre, to sporting events, and when I drive.  The online form asks if you wear glasses to drive; I truthfully answered “yes”.  This resulted in me disqualifying myself for online renewal and now I have to go into the DDS office for an eye exam.  Since they told me this after 30 minutes of messing with the “convenient” online form, when I arrived at what I thought was the final stage and conclusion of the process, you can imagine my frustration when I was disqualified.  So much for “convenience”.

In our modern lives, when so much of everything is available right at our fingertips or without much wait, we tend to complain when things become inconvenient.  The internet and cable tv are out-of-service, (in my case for several days due to the recent tornado), and people complain.  The website isn’t working right.  I don’t have any cell service. The lines at the grocery store were sooooo long. The wait at the Emergency Room was a nightmare….

Have you ever stepped back from our “first world problems” and taken a self-critical look at how we act?  We have become so accustomed (some would use the word “spoiled”) by our modern conveniences that we tend to forget that we are very blessed to have them.  Can you imagine a villager in the Brazilian rain forest complaining “the internet is out”? There are millions of people around the world who have never been to a website (let alone operated a computer). There is more area on this planet not covered by cell service than is.  There are places in the world, many in this country, where food is scarce, and people would gladly get in line to wait for it.  Maybe the person being helped in the ER that is making your wait so long is in such bad shape they do not have any concept of time anymore; they are solely concentrating on taking their next breath.

As we emerge from the “inconvenience” that the Covid-19 pandemic has been, I hope and pray that the world, our community, and our congregation do so with a renewed perspective.  Yes, the closed church doors were an inconvenience to many, but North Fayette UMC emerges from this crisis, (Lord, may this blessing continue), without any known Covid-19 related congregational deaths.  To put this in perspective, I spoke with a pastor friend this past week who performed 11 Covid-19 related funerals over the course of the pandemic.

As we cautiously, with measured steps, reopen and resume church functions, I ask for your patience, your prayers, and your participation at your wise discretion.  God has got this.  We trust and we follow knowing that God’s eyes do not grow dim or weary.  We trust in God’s vision and plan, trying to maintain a loving, proper perspective.

For some Biblical point-of-view on this, I invite you to spend some time, slowly and pensively, with Psalm 34.  Note how the Psalm engages the senses, especially sight. 

See you around soon,

Rev. John