Rev. Wendy Komori Stager –
Mark 1: 14-39
If St. Andrew’s were a United Methodist Church (UMC), we would have an installed pastor by now.
The UMC is my home denomination. I had a choice when I sensed God’s call towards pastoral ministry to take a UMC track or a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) track. As I looked into the two ways that the denominations secured pastoral leadership, I found some huge differences. In the United Methodist Church, the Bishop and the Cabinet meet together and look at all the churches needing pastors and all the pastors looking to move to new ministries and make assignments. New appointments start on July 1 of each year.
I did NOT want to be a part of the UMC system. I would love to claim it was for solid theological reasons, but more honestly, I didn’t want to surrender that much of my life and my choices. In the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) the call system allows for my own discernment and the discernment of a Pastor Nominating Committee to hear God’s call for a particular pastor and a particular church. In that way, I get to hold onto some key choices about where I might live or where I might go.
However this week, as I read about at Jesus’ ministry in the gospel of Mark, I see that Jesus is a preacher who is constantly on the move. He could have stayed in his home territory and people were flocking to him. Yet, he uses his feet or a boat to continually go to new villages and cities to share the good news. So, today I conclude and concede that the UMC has some theological backbone to their process of keeping the ministerial staff rotating. For ministry for pastors, for congregations, and for all Christians is one of motion – of following Jesus on the way.