. . . begins next Sunday, Oct. 4th, at 9:15 a.m. Bring your Bible and join us, as we begin the wondrous adventure of the book of Acts! (This class will be facilitated by Rev. Colleen M. Norman and will convene in Trinity Hall.)
“Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble
and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)
It was mid-May when I received a first call from my District Superintendent, informing me of a probable pastoral re-appointment. A few years ago, after almost twenty years of serving congregations – small, medium, and large – as pastor, I confessed that I’d never really taken the time necessary for real rest and renewal…for plain relaxation and fun. And so, 2015 was to have been the year for taking that nice vacation I’d kept postponing for years; this was to have been the year for “exhaling”, for taking time to complete the long unfinished book manuscript now stored on a dusty thumb drive. 2015 was to be the year for deeper reflection and for allowing my soul to quietly bask and rejoice in my journey…in my ongoing journey with Jesus. But an unexpected abundance of special local church and NIC events, of ecumenical cluster meetings and community organizations’ affairs, along with continuing visits and prayers on behalf of critically ill church Family members in hospice care, in addition to added efforts to resolve a most resilient city water bill issue all came together to ensure little-to-no time for even getting most things done.
It was mid-May when I received a first call about a probable pastoral re-appointment and as I examined my calendar – already filled with upcoming events through November – I simply couldn’t see how I’d possibly find either the time or energy needed for attending to every necessary task! How could I hope to add bringing adequate closure to one longtime pastoral adventure, relocate office and parsonage, while also discerning how God would have me begin and go forth in what would be an utterly new place? I quickly, resolutely sought the answer(s) I needed, until I finally chose to simply cease my struggling and “be still” in the presence of my Savior and best Friend.
As Jesus spoke to yet another gathered crowd, he refused to mince words when addressing the matter of the bone-deep weariness many of us so often feel in the course of our daily living. Our culture isn’t geared toward rest. And even in the church we find little wrong with cramming our Sundays with meetings and other sessions because of other weekday commitments. The wonder of simple worship and rest on the Sabbath is blithely forfeited as we strive for accomplishing too much. When Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest,” He wasn’t simply speaking about physical tiredness. Jesus was speaking about the physical, mental and spiritual fatigue resulting from trying to “do the right thing to please God” – by struggling and striving as if attending to our varied tasks somehow earns us true salvation. Our help, our real rest, our true salvation comes from trusting God’s promises, power and grace to make our way and take us from strength to strength! Real rest isn’t a blessing we can earn, but must merely receive from the One who knows and cares and provides.
In these coming weeks, I’ll be sharing how the Spirit of the Lord is leading me as pastor of this faith community. What I can now share is my desire to see a Prayer Ministry, a lay-driven Pastoral Care Ministry, and a Cancer Care Ministry developed and flourishing at TUMC; if you’re interested in any of these ministries, please contact me at [email protected] Also, our Minister of Christian Education, Jacki Bogolia, will be encouraging your participation in the newest United Methodist Disciple Bible Study. Additional information about this special opportunity will be provided as one of Sunday’s announcements. You should also know that, as the 2015 Annual Church/Charge Conference – scheduled in the afternoon of Sunday, November 15th — I’ll be in conversation with our current church leadership team members and with the other Nominations & Leadership Development team members in devising the “Church Leadership Team” nominees as we move into 2016. Interested in serving as part of the church’s ministry in some way? I invite you to be in touch with me!
Real rest? Thankfully and by my God’s grace, I’m finding it! May we keep one another and the ministry to which our Lord is calling us in our fervent prayers.
Peace & Grace,
Rev. Colleen M. Norman
As of August 1, 2015, Trinity United Methodist Church is pleased to announce that we have a new pastor. We welcome her with open arms and look forward to a long and loving personal and spiritual relationship. Below please find a short biography:
Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Rev. Colleen M. Norman has earned degrees from DePaul University (Bachelor’s degree, in Communications) and the Chicago Theological Seminary (MDiv degree). She has taught an introductory theology course for the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education (SCUPE), guest lectured on the subject of “Religion and Domestic Violence” at St. Xavier University, is a published writer, and a previous VBS Editor for Urban Ministries, Inc..
Rev. Norman is an ordained Elder within The United Methodist Church, and with an abiding love for Christ Jesus and faithful participation in God’s redemptive ministry, she has served as a Pastor since 1996. She was the 2007 Clergy recipient of the prestigious Denman Evangelism Award, and has served as a member of both religious and civic boards/organizations.
Colleen is the mother of four adult children, and grandmother of Jayda Marie, Terrence Alexander, and Savannah Ariel. She enjoys reading, writing, teaching, power walking, and horseback riding, along with spending time with family and friends.
Psalm 103 proclaims “11 For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is God’s steadfast love toward those who fear the Lord; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far God re-moves our transgressions from us. 13 As a father has compas-sion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him.”
During March, our praise song will be “East to West.” The music will be a bit challenging (but we do have a whole month to become familiar with it). The message is based on the Psalm. It places our struggles with who we are and who we want to be within the context of God’s overwhelming love and forgiveness.
Think of the image. How far is the East from the West? If you travel north, you will pass the North Pole. After that, you will travel south. Pass the South Pole, and you travel north. On the other hand, you can travel east for the rest of your life; or west. There is no directional dividing line. In that regard, I think the distance from east to west is infinite. That is how far God “removes our transgressions from us.”
There is more to the image; our part, if you will. If you travel east, the only way to travel west is to turn around and go the opposite direction. The Biblical image for repentance is a “change of mind.” In some ways, the deeper and more permanent meaning of Lent is to be found in our changes of mind. We usually think of the Lenten discipline as temporarily giving things up or temporarily taking things on. While this is fine, it misses the fullness of the Psalm.
To be touched by the greatness of God’s love, to feel forgiven and accepted, to be changed by that love and forgiveness into those that love and forgive — that is the fullness of the Psalm. It is also the deeper meaning of Lent.
Thanks be to God.
The Church (or Charge) Conference is the annual business meeting of the Church. When designated as a Charge Conference, only the leadership of the congregation participates. When designated as a Church Conference, all are invited to participate. We hold our annual meeting as a Church Conference. So all are invited.
Usually, the Conference is convened and presided over by the District Superintendent of the Elgin District of the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church. This year, the DS will not be with us, and a Presiding Elder (one of the pastors on our District, SungJa Moon from Salem Church in Barrington) will be presiding.
In addition to Conference business, there will be a special emphasis on children and youth as our neighbors. We are being asked to consider the following questions:
- Who are the children and teens to whom we can be/are in ministry?
- What does it mean to welcome these children as teens?
- What do children and teens bring with them?
- What can this congregation do to reach and welcome neighborhood children and teens?
We invite you to think about these questions, and come to the Church Conference meeting on December 2 to share your thoughts.
Because these are questions about children and teens, Jacki Bogolia is using a different set of question for children and teens. Thus there will be input from our children and youth as part of the meeting.
The official business of the Conference consists of reflections on ministry in the past year and the reception of reports, including those establishing our leadership for the year ahead and setting the pastor’s salary. The rest of the budget for 2015 will be set at the end of 2014, and is not part of the Church Conference agenda.
This meeting is open to everyone, and we hope that you will plan to attend.