January 10, 2010

Baptism: What difference does it really make?

Dear Friends,
The local church may be where we gather to worship, fellowship, and learn; but it seems to me that the local church should also be where we practice our gifts. Because being the Church is really done in the world. As a practice ground, the local church is the place where our gifts are enhanced. The local church is not the be-all-end-all of ministry. We as UMs, I believe, put too much stress on what happens in the local church--so much so that too often the reason we are the Church is lost.

I was reminded of this when I read the latest issue of the UM Reporter about the ministry of our chaplains. A Navy chaplain friend told me that where he serves on a carrier, he has the world's largest youth group. He and his family routinely host service men and women, who can't find their way home. There are military chaplains, but also police, hospital, Civil Air Parole, domestic violence, prison, and many others. They and their spouses are making a world of difference; but often we don't pay attention because what they do is considered "beyond the local church."

As a pastor's spouse, I have a ministry too--in the church but also at my job, in the neighborhood, in the local schools. I am a baptised child of God. That's what my baptism means to me. What about you? What does your faith really mean to you? What difference does it make in your everyday life?


Kathy's ministry involves providing resources for laity, pastors, and academics


  1. I'm not sure what category this would belong under, but I see it as ministry, so I'm going to ask my question here: Have any of you been involved in the creation of a new parish? That is where there are several towns/churches and they have each been served by one pastor. Now the 2 or 3 are being served by one person and that person is your spouse (in my situation, my husband.)

    We have been here since June 2009 and things are going well. We had an Open House the first Sunday afternoon in January and several people from each church came to see the parsonage, have cookies & punch/coffee, and talk. I thought it went so well, I suggested a potluck picnic this summer in the park of the middle town. (They are 3 churches/towns in a row on a highway with 35 miles from the farthest points, but members of the parish living at the far ends are probably about 75 miles apart because this is ranch country. Of course there is a Staff-Parish Relations Committee and one of the lines in the covenant that was drawn up was to seek creative ways to build the parish. People are important to me, so I thought I'd seek your input for creative ideas to suggest.

    Mary Ellen

  2. Dear Mary Ellen, I'm trying to get you some contacts. Kathy