There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28
Dear Friends, I am so glad that with God there is no partiality; we are all equally loved, affirmed and made in God’s image. And yet, with God there is also a vast array of diversity. God has made us all a bit different from one another. Isn’t that a delight! Just as no two snowflakes are alike, no two people are either. I marvel at God’s creative imagination.
There are times in our day to day life here in Northern Maine when we do not seem that diverse. Most of us are of white European backgrounds and many of us may seem to have similar cultural values and habits. Yet, when we delve more deeply in getting to know each other, we can find so many unique aspects of each other.
This past week, at our second transition workshop for churches undergoing a pastoral change we had a lively conversation about Cross Cultural church appointments. Three of our churches will be welcoming a new pastor who hails from a different ethnic and cultural background this July. Our workshop participants spoke about how to traverse the adventure of getting to know someone from a different ethnic background. We affirmed the ways these new relationships could broaden our perspectives and our spiritual lives. We also acknowledged the road blocks that could get in the way in these new relationships. We live in a society that often finds fault with folks who look, think or act differently than we do.
As God’s children, we want to do all that we can to welcome everyone to join our fellowship. This year, we particularly want to welcome Pastor Bumshik Min and Pastor Hyungyong Choi and their families to the Northern Maine District. Rather than allow Grant Memorial UMC, Alton UMC and Orono UMC to be the only ones who will be part of this new adventure, our CODS committee decided today that we would make this appointment year a year to celebrate our differences. We hope to have several opportunities throughout the year to have international pot lucks, Cultural fairs and other events where we can have fun exploring different cultures and ethnicities. It is going to be fun!
Friends, please reach out to Pastor Min and Pastor Choi in the next few months to let them know how glad we are to have them as part of the Northern Maine family. I hear that Pastor Choi cooks a mean Korean barbecue!
In Christ’s love, Jackie