Coming and Going
“The Lord will keep you from all evil; He will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8)
The perennial rhythm of coming and going comes to particular attention at this season of the year for United Methodists. With annual conference we send pastors who will go out to new places and we send people who will come home to familiar places. In one place Jesus says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NRSV) In another place, Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… and I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20, NRSV) Our United Methodist practice of itineracy exemplifies this dynamic of coming and going.
Coming in for rest sounds very inviting, though one reads just a bit further to hear that the true rest involves being yoked to Jesus so that He is shouldering our burdens with us. Going out into all the world sounds very exciting, though there is a clear mission that defines the reason for our going and that too is centered on being baptized, teaching and obeying the commands of Jesus, as He continues to be with us.
It is not easy for pastors or for congregations, all of this coming and going. On the Alexandria District, we have numerous churches that are experiencing this change this month. (See below for the names and places.) Each of these comings and goings has been planned with prayerful attention, great care for the congregation and its mission field, and much thoughtful work on the part of many church members who are intent on bidding a fond farewell as well as rolling out the welcome mat of extravagant hospitality. I am grateful to all of the partners in every place who have worked so diligently to make these changes in appointments happen.
It also is worth noting that the coming and going is not only for itinerant pastors. It is for all church members. We all are involved in the rhythm of coming to church to find the blessings of that experience. We are also all involved in going out from church to share those blessings in our everyday experiences. More and more, we are also discovering that “doing church” is not only about how people come to church. “Doing church” nowadays also means that the church is going to where people are and offering the blessings of the Lord to them in places outside of the church building. We then discover the strength of the Lord’s promise to be with us, not only as we come in, but also as we go out to be with others in ways that share God’s love.
I encourage all of our churches and pastors, both where the pastoral appointment is new and where it is familiar, to be attuned to the ways that God is “keeping our going out and our coming in” in the days and weeks ahead.
Grace and Peace,
Alexandria District Clergy Changes
New Clergy to the Alexandria District
Scott Beck to St. Paul
Gennie Bowles (Genevieve) to Prince of Peace
Jay Campbell to Mount Vernon
Christina Hart-Perkins to Washington Farm
Sara Porter Keeling to Good Shepherd
Jae Woo Park “JW” to St. John’s
Clergy moving within the District
Abi Foerster to St. Thomas
Grace Han to Trinity
Minoo Kim to Fairfax/new site
Jason Micheli to Annandale
New Associate Pastors
Lisa Nicole Moreno Howard (Nickie) to St. Matthew’s
Jiyeon Kim to St. Stephen’s
William “Mac” McKenney to Good Shepherd
Emily Moore-Diamond to Aldersgate
Pia Diggs to Messiah
Tommy Suh to Messiah