Greetings and salutations!

We’ve made it through half the summer and my renewal leave…and now I’m back!

Though we had a shared guest preacher while I was away, this marks the first official week of what I’m calling the Youngstown UMC Collaborative: our partnership with Trinity UMC of Youngstown. Beyond the immediately apparent changes, such as our worship time, I pray that this collaborative will yield good fruit for our Kin(g)dom building work in Liberty Township and the north end of Youngstown.

I have been using this week to settle in–settling back in to the rhythms of ministry; settling in to my new-to-me office space at the Trinity campus; and settling in to dream of what this collaborative can be. I cannot dream alone, though: it will take all of us to make our greatest visions a reality.

It’s fitting that on my first Sunday back, we will consider Jacob’s great dream at the place he named Beth-El: God Is In This Place. Jacob – a trickster, a man on the run, with only rocks to make his bed – encounters the full promise and protection of the God Who Sees…and it changes his life. So too may we encounter God’s invitation into something bigger than ourselves, something that elicits both fear and hope, something new that will point us to something timeless.

Remember to wake up early on Sunday — I’ll see you when the music starts at 10!