The many waters of the Many Waters District flowed together on June 17, 2022, as district members gathered to celebrate and offer appreciation to outgoing District Superintendent Karen Munson.
Dr. Munson has served six years on the Cabinet, and as of July 1 will serve a part-time appointment at Green Street UMC in Augusta, ME. Rev. Arlene Tully will be the next Many Waters District Superintendent.
Invitees to the farewell evening were asked to come with samples of water from across the district to be brought together and gifted to Dr. Munson.
From the liturgy: “God’s work in your life has watered the seeds of our faith and inspired fruitful ministries in the name of Christ.”
Speaking of Dr. Munson’s leadership, Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar echoed that sentiment, saying:
“It was Karen’s willingness to reject the crown for the cross and her great sense of security that allowed her to stimulate and encourage pastors and leaders to have freedom without micro-managing them, to enable them to fly high for the glory of God filled with the love of Christ, using their gifts and graces.”
Calling him her “Rock of Gibraltar,” the bishop also extended his gratitude to Dr. Munson’s husband, Jeff. “Thank you both for your sacrificial giving and care,” the bishop said.
Describing her as “a scholar, a theologian, and a pastor,” the bishop described Dr. Munson’s ministry with a quote from Dag Hammarskjöld: “I would rather see a sermon than hear one.”
“Karen's superintendency is indeed a sermon,” Bishop Devadhar said, “not preached but lived. It has had an electrifying effect on others.”
In her sermon titled “In God’s Grace” Dr. Munson talked about how to live.
“For six years now I’ve been signing my messages to all of you, ‘in God’s Grace,’ Dr. Munson said, “because that’s the only way I can imagine to live. In God’s grace is the only way that’s wide enough, deep enough, strong enough, tender enough, purposeful enough, loving enough.”
We are not called to relive the days of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, the days of Peter and Paul, or even to relive the days of our own youth group or favorite pastor, Dr. Munson said.
“We are called to live this day,” she said, “and to live it faithfully.”
And this day, Dr. Munson said, is one of revival when “persons from the margins of those ‘just so’ communities, like the persons that Jesus noticed from the edges of his ‘just so’ community, have found their voices and joined the dance, changing its pattern as they live in God’s grace.”
“We are called to live this day faithfully, which means pushing through discomfort as we move from comfort into new growth,” she said.
“I’m so privileged to have served first Mid-Maine, and then Tri-state, and now the Many Waters District, a new creation, in the early days of this district, this conference’s revival,” she said.
In addition to the water, attendees were asked to bring plants to help fill out the Munsons’ garden and finger foods to share during the reception after the service.