Changing Seasons While Living and Loving Boldly
August 31, 2016
Dear brothers and sisters of the Mountain Sky Area,
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Writing this, I am aware of changing seasons:
The expansive days of summer are turning into the days of lessening sunlight of fall.
The daydreams of August are turning into the focus of September programs.
Goodbyes between you and Bishop Elaine are turning into hellos as we begin our ministry together.
Seasons don’t always neatly transition, one to the next. There are questions and uncertainties about a new season. But each season offers the promise of new life, and new ways of encountering the world and each other. Just like in biblical times, in parts of the Mountain Sky Area, autumn is the season for planting the winter wheat that will harvested in the spring. God’s harvest happens no matter the season or the place.
I have found the one constant in the ever-changing seasons to be God’s love. The hymn O Love, That Will Not Let Me Go has been my anchor when it feels like all else is swirling around me. This love of God, in turn, enables me to walk through all the changing circumstances of life in love, remaining connected not only to God but to those around me.
It is with this love that I am looking forward to meeting you! I have heard a great deal about the ministries of the Mountain Sky Area, about how you are extending the love of Christ in your communities in creative and compelling ways, and I know there’s still so much more to hear about!
I look forward to learning of the ways you are making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world in your town, of how you are providing the anchor of God’s love in the changing seasons of your community, and of the ways you are embodying love in all your relationships: with those in your pulpits and pews, with the people living in your neighborhoods who long to know that God’s love is real, and with everyone you meet.
I pray that we live into beloved community, that we live boldly as the body of Christ. and love so fully, so completely, that the neighborhoods in which United Methodists Churches stand in are utterly transformed by the love that spills out of these communities.
In this changing season of episcopal transition, may God’s strong, sure love bind us together and prepare us for a future of hope and new possibilities.
Bishop Karen Oliveto