Reflections from Pastor Kim
Thanksgiving – one word, that we associate with one day or season. What if instead we considered Thanks Giving – more than one word, with a broader focus. Consider what it might look like if we made giving thanks a way of life? What if Thanks Giving became a culture not just of individuals, not just a faith family, but of an entire community? How does that change the greater community? How does that change the world?
November 1 we begin to move in just that direction! We will be working together to move into a culture of Thanks Giving; not focused on a day or season, but instead working together to change our lives and the lives of others, as we learn to live in a continual atmosphere of Thanks Giving. That will not be an overnight transition. It will not happen in a few months. This is a long-range endeavor to deepen our faith, strengthen our faith family, and reach our community with the love God calls us to cultivate and share.
We will work together with a common goal, with a plan laid out for next steps of which I’ve shared the basic structure below. During the October Administrative Board meeting, Oakland UMC leadership agreed to support the plan and work together with myself and you, to make a culture of Thanks Giving a reality. This is nothing that a pastor can do on their own, nor anything that appointed leadership alone can tackle. Each of you are an integral part of this process because you are an integral part of our faith family. It will take our realization that together we can have a more profound effect on our children, youth, elders, and everyone in between. Together we are able to have a larger and more significant impact on our local and greater community in faith building, mission, and ministry.
The next year of this endeavor has a name, 2022 - A Gift to Oakland. This is a plan that will be evaluated weekly by those who are in the midst of specific elements of the plan, and monthly by the Administrative Board. The plan has desired outcomes listed and dreams and realities mixed in with each step. Oakland UMC leadership is committed to being nimble and responsive to changing needs and situations, yet continuing to move forward. This is such a testament to the deep roots of faith and the willingness to petition the Holy Spirit for next steps of Oakland UMC.
How did this foundational plan come to be? I have been at Oakland for four months. No, not long, but the time has been full of learning! There have been many hours of listening to stories, reading church history, talking to leadership about who we are, where we are, and in what direction we feel God is calling us to move forward. There have been conversations with community members, unscientific core values polls, watching you all worship, communicate and be together. In the midst of this is also the realities of the last over eighteen months of unrest surrounding COVID, changing demographics, and the changing perception of faith and organized religion. So many things in the mix!! The most important though, is the consistent leading of the Holy Spirit.
I am so excited to be on this journey with you!! We will work together, learn together, grow together and worship together over the next years. There will be more to come. Always know that my door is open to your questions, ideas and inspirations. Let’s move forward to what God has for us that we have yet to imagine!
“FOR SURELY I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU, SAYS THE LORD, PLANS FOR YOUR WELFARE AND NOT FOR YOUR HARM, TO GIVE YOU A FUTURE WITH HOPE." JEREMIAH 29:11 NRSV
2022 - A Gift to Oakland
1. Create an atmosphere of thanksgiving
2. Develop a network of learning centered on the giving of time, talents and treasures
3. Oakland UMC becomes a community outreach hub.
Each of these are multi-faceted and our next few months are just the beginning. Let’s live in Thanks Giving EVERY day! See you on the journey!
Be blessed, be a blessing, and take someone with you on the journey! Pastor Kim
Pastor Kim Dewey