As a minister and a minister’s family we come to realize that there are seasons of ministry. We do not have control over these seasons just as no one has the control over the rain and the snow. When God speaks we listen. When God calls we follow. The seasons of our spiritual life can change at any time. But God does prepare and if we are listening we know something is going to happen and all too many times we don’t know the whole story until it unfolds. I knew I was going to serve another church but I did not know what was going to happen was going to happen the way it did. As I said seasons come and go and God is letting me know that my season at Living Faith Parish has come to an end and the next season in our ministry will be with you and the people of Oakland. So we pack up our belongings and our memories and we wait for the moving van.
I wanted to emphasize God’s work in my family’s life because from what I have seen and what I have heard God is very active and at work in the life of the Oakland UMC. So a new season begins for me and my family and a new season begins for Oakland UMC. We are excited to learn about you and your walk with Jesus and to be a part of your ministry and to experience the Jesus in you. We are also excited about sharing what we have learned from ministering to the faithful in the churches we have served all over the state of Iowa.
I know the circumstances that I come to Oakland are not what anybody wanted and our thoughts and prayers go out to Karen and her family. Karen no doubt by the love that you have shown her (Facebook and the World Wide Web) has laid down some great ground work for all of us to follow. It is not my desire to reinvent the wheel but to build on what has already been put into place and continue what has already been started. So as we settle in and integrate ourselves into the Oakland community my first priority will be to observe and learn. I promise to be patient and I pray you will be patient with us as at first it will be a learning experience for all of us.
We are excited about learning who you are and to come to know the people of Oakland UMC and the people of the community of Oakland that surrounds the church. But as Diana and I have both participated in the Walk to Emmaus experience we learned the phrase “don’t anticipate, participate.” Much is learned by observing and paying attention to what is being taught, but the real learning begins when we roll up our shirt sleeves as Jesus did and put our hands into the lesson to be learned.
We pray that we will see as many as possible on July 3rd as we will be in worship that day to begin our journey with you and with Jesus.
Rev. Dennis, Diana and Will Hopes.