From 1879-1988 there were 17 clergy at Metropolitan Methodist Church
From 1883-1987 there were 17 clergy at Buitenkant Methodist Church
From 1988-2023 there were 8 clergy at Central Methodist Mission
Clergy come. Clergy go. The Church of Christ remains…
This is my final year at CMM.
Methodist ministers are gifted with 5-year commitments in church community. I use the word “gifted” because strictly speaking Methodist ministers are not “employees” of the church. I have never signed a work contract and I would not have a legal leg to stand on at the CCMA. Instead of the church employing clergy, the church gifts clergy with an opportunity to live out their Gospel calling within a specific community of faith. A covenantal, rather than a contractual, relationship exists between Methodist ministers and the Methodist Church. On 26 November 2023 I will complete my third 5-year commitment at CMM. In other words, I will have received three times the normal GIFT! Capital letters don’t get close to the size of this GIFT, but I will use them in any case. I am so grateful for:
- The GIFT of exploring what it means to do justice, love mercifully and walk humbly as a community with God in this city.
- The GIFT of wrestling what it means to be followers of Jesus who said: “What you do to the least, you do to me”.
- The GIFT of care when I’ve struggled, comfort when in grief, repeatedly forgiven and invited to begin again, when I have missed the mark of love by a mile.
- The GIFT of welcoming me into your homes and into your lives and above all into your hearts.
- The GIFT of trusting me with your story and for allowing me to walk a few steps of our journey together.
I remember when I arrived here, my mom said to me: “You have new people to love and new people to be loved by”. Mom’s summary of what it means to join and journey with a community is simple and beautiful. To love and be loved is how we become more fully human. Therefore, the greatest GIFT you have given me is the GIFT of deepening my humanity. I will leave CMM at the end of this year more human than when I arrived.
I don’t know what my future plans are yet, but I do have a desire to explore a different rhythm of life. A life with fewer words, especially weekly words. I look forward to exploring silence for a season and then wait and see…
We don’t know who will be replacing me yet. However, the process is underway. As always the Stationing Committee is faced with the challenge to align clergy availability and suitability with the local church and context. It is not an easy task and we offer prayerful hearts for those involved in this process.
As I write to tell you that this is my final year at CMM, I can’t think of a more appropriate day to be renewing our annual Covenant together. First prayed in 1755:
Beloved in Christ, let us once again claim for ourselves this Covenant which God has made with God’s people, and take upon us the yoke of Christ. To take Jesus’ yoke upon us means that we are content for him to appoint us our place and work, and himself to be our reward.
Christ has many services to be done: some are easy, others are difficult; some bring honour, others bring reproach; some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests, others are contrary to both; in some we may please Christ and please ourselves, in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves. Yet the power to do all these things is given to us in Christ, who strengthens us.
Therefore let us make this Covenant of God our own. Let us give ourselves to God, trusting in God’s promises and relying on God’s grace.
Lord God, Holy Lord, since you have called us through Christ to share in this gracious Covenant, we take upon ourselves with joy the yoke of obedience and, for the love of you, engage ourselves to seek and do your perfect will.
We are no longer our own but yours. I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering*; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty; let me have all things, let me have nothing; I fully and freely yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. And the Covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.
*Please note: The traditional words, “Put me to doing, put me to suffering,” do not mean that we ask God to make us suffer. Rather, they express our desire to do any faithful act regardless of whether there is suffering involved.