SOUTHERN HILLS DISTRICT
We are Still Going!
During my renewal leave, I flew out to Denver where my sister lives and we took our first “Sister Trip” with just the two of us in her car. Our first visit was with Hal and Margaret Waters, my parents’ closest friends, in a Senior Living complex in Carlsbad, New Mexico. They remember my birth and many marker moments in my life. They miss our parents who have passed away, remembering our home church in Arlington Virginia, where their adult Sunday School class also played bridge together once a
month. Margaret became a travel agent after raising their children and led a group to the World Methodist Conference in Nairobi, Kenya years ago. She planned a side trip for a short Safari experience down a long road, which became a bumpy grasslands trail after a while as it was getting dark. Margaret anxiously asked the distinguished Kenyan guide whether they were
almost to the guest house where they’d stay that night. “Madame, we are still going!” he replied brightly but firmly. She can still remember his voice and when people ask how she and her husband are doing now that they are 86 and 90 years old, respectively, she replies brightly and firmly, “We are still going!”
I got back to my roots in the Bible while on leave, taking the trip again with our parents in the faith, Abraham and Sarah and family, reading in Genesis and Exodus. “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you … So Abram left as the Lord had told him, and Lot went with him. Abram was 75 years old when he set out from
Haran.” (Gen. 12:1,4 NIV) In a sense, as a people of faith in the United Methodist Church, I can affirm brightly and firmly, “we are still going!” There are new pastors who have come from other places and churches and laity venturing out in new ways to share the good news of Jesus Christ, following the example of parents in the faith like Paul and like Lydia. I will be listening to how your journeys in faith are going as I have the privilege to meet this fall with pastors and lay leaders.
My sister and I also visited our last living aunt and uncle at an Assisted Living facility in Liberal, Kansas. Uncle Merle, our dad’s youngest brother, is now 90, and Aunt Phyllis is making the most of each day by sharing her gifts of music and encouragement with all the residents. We shared lunch and supper with them and stayed for the gospel sing which she accompanied. We sang “I’ll Fly Away,” “Whispering Hope,” (my request), and some of Aunt Phyllis’ choices including “There’s Something about that Name,” and the poetic “Be Still, My Soul” by Katharina von Schlegel, translated by Jane Borthwick in 1855 and based on Psalm
46:10 (Hymn 534 in the UM Hymnal, 1988). “Be still, my soul: your God will undertake to guide the future, as in ages past. Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake; all now mysterious shall be bright at last. Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know the Christ who ruled them while he dwelt below.”
We visited with both my cousins and their wives who are still farming in western Kansas, as our grandfather did. Our family from Virginia visited there for 10 days each summer as we grew up and they are the inspiration for my love of rural people and churches still today. This heritage drew me to my husband in seminary, which is how I have become an Ohioan for 32 years now!
I thank you for more time with my husband and others on a stirring time of renewal this summer and could share more! I appreciate the honor of travelling life’s path with you at this point in our lives. We are still going!
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Gail Angel, District Superintenden
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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