SOUTHERN HILLS DISTRICT
The Risen Christ is with Us!
Once the excitement and celebration of Easter Sunday is past, how do we remind each other that the Risen Christ is with us? We want to be Easter people, boldly sharing the good news that God’s love is stronger than death! Our hope is not in vain and contrasts with so much hopelessness around us. The Risen Christ is with us in the preaching, teaching, responding and serving we do. I joined with many to attend the funeral for Pastor Mary “Louise” Rogers (1920-2018). She got a seminary degree, in days when that was uncommon for women, and served as a local pastor at Byesville: Trinity 1967-1984 and Pleasant City 1977-1984. The many lives she touched in living out her faith, preaching, teaching, and leading were celebrated by Pastor Debbie Gheen
and all the witnesses who gathered and shared.
Many churches are trying one new bold thing this year to make a difference for Christ in their communities. That was a challenge in June of 2017 from our Bishop, Tracy Malone, as she inspired pastors and lay members at Annual Conference. The Belmont and Lloydsville churches stepped forward in faith from a part-time appointment to support their new pastor, Andrew Thompson, as a full-time pastor. Koinonia Team churches stepped out in faith to support a youth leader together. Sardis UMC has completed its accessible fellowship building which will better serve the community through offering food and other programs. Epworth Center and the Real Life Community of Faith are building one another up with Sherri Buehl as the Director of Epworth Center. The risen Christ is with us!
We stir up the Spirit in one another as we learn together. Many leaders gathered at Christ UMC in Cambridge March 3 for training (by the Town and Rural Resource Program) in church security matters, disaster response, and addiction recovery programs. The laity have stepped out to help and lead when pastors or their family members have been ill. The pastor at
Woodsfield, David Cottrell, preached at Somerton following the passing of Pastor Richard Wilson, until another pastor, Mark Zimmer, could begin to offer them new focus as of March 1. Persons are presenting themselves as candidates for ministry and training to become Certified Lay Ministers. We celebrated and learned together at Spring District Conference March 10, honoring churches where people have joined in this year by profession of faith. We heard from Will Jones, a younger Conference Leader helping us focus on good outcomes to make disciples and offering ideas on Reaching New People. We covered many other areas including honoring 2 lay servants of the year and a Pastor of the Year named by the District Lay Servant Committee. The Risen Christ is with us!
I praise God for the faithfulness of Pastor Parish Relations Committee and congregational leaders who prepare to say goodbye to one pastor and welcome another. It is an honor to serve among you and a privilege to watch how the Holy Spirit works in these important times of transition. Churches receiving a new pastor have been invited to Transition workshops and getting “Rule of Christ” training in the fall, using Biblical principles to keep us healthy even in conflict. Healthy congregations are freed to make more disciples of Jesus Christ. Even out of congregations which have closed, members find new places and ways to serve and grow. The risen Christ is with us!
In what ways can you see the Risen Christ is with us? How are you stepping up in personal faith and social witness to make a difference and transform the world? We would like more to share their testimonies. It’s no joke: we are Easter people! Let’s celebrate the resurrection of Christ in some bold, new ways and share how Jesus breaks down old assumptions and brings us new life!
- Rev. Gail Angel, District Superintendent
Southern Hills District:
Rev. Gail Angel
641 Steubenville Avenue
Cambridge OH 43725
Office Hours: Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
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