This week, Jim's Place brings a special message from Joanna Cummings.
The words to one of my favorite hymns, Here I Am Lord, echo the cry of my heart this week: “Here I am Lord, Is it I, Lord? I have heard You calling in the night. I will go Lord, if You lead me. I will hold Your people in my heart.” God has called me to a new mission with the children, families, and community of The Village United Methodist Church, a new church plant in the Lenox Village/Nolensville area where we live, and I am following God’s call to join their staff as their children’s minister.
I share this with you with a heart that feels both sadness and gratitude. It is a strange feeling. You have been my church family for six and a half years and who I am today as a minister has a great deal to do with you and what you have taught me. I am thankful to you for so many things! I am grateful that you took me under your wing as a seminary student and new children’s minister. You took a chance on someone young and eager to learn and you supported me, loved me, and showed me so much grace. You have uplifted me and encouraged me as I have grown in ministry. You have built confidence in me and what God can do through this quirky, very type A, always learning, young woman in ministry. You have cared for me as a person through sharing life with me, through walking with me in my grief in the loss of my father and through pushing me to be who God has created me to be. You have been my friends and partners in ministry. I feel so honored to have been a part of God’s Kingdom work together with you!
To the children, you have taught me the most! Your eagerness to serve others and God’s church, your joy and wonder in faith and life and your questions push me forward in faith and have brought me closer to God. Because of you, I view the world differently and my faith has been deepened. You have so much to give our world and our church right now and I pray that you always remember that you are God’s beloved children. I love each of you and I am proud of you.
I give God thanks for you, for each of you! I will remain with you through Christmas and will start my new adventure in ministry in January. I ask that during this time of transition you pray for and support the children, families and educational ministries here at Forest Hills UMC. If you have gifts that can support these ministries, I hope you will share them. These ministries will continue the mission of discipleship only with your support, energy and care. I urge you to share your time and gifts in this effort.
Let us continue on together, creating disciples in the name of Jesus Christ and transforming the world with the good news of God’s great love for us. I love you all and I will continue to hold you in my heart and in my prayers.
With Grace and Thankfulness,
Kristin Clark-Banks is the pastor of Forest Hills UMC.