~Staying Connected~

….A newsletter from the desk of Pastor Steve-Orono United Methodist Church….

February 2017

      Are you part of a big family, or a small one?  Judy is one of 7 Randall kids, and she has a large cast of cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.  Comparatively, I am part of a fairly small family (1 brother, 1 sister.)  However, a few experiences from the past month helped me realize that my family is actually huge! 

     During January we did a fair amount of traveling, mostly around Maine and northern Massachusetts.  As you likely know, along with serving as Pastor of Orono and Alton United Methodist Churches, I am also serving as coordinating pastor for the Lincoln, Danforth, and Vanceboro United Methodist churches.  These three churches are sharing a pastor (Chris Pooler), but he isn’t ordained/licensed yet, so I provide assistance to these churches, particularly around matters of church governance and the sacraments.  I had the pleasure of being with these church communities a few times during the month of January, while also traveling south to Lawrence, Massachusetts to speak to a class about preaching.  These folks are in the process of entering United Methodist ministry as pastors, and were spending a week together at Rolling Ridge Retreat Center.

      One way I benefitted from my travels to other churches and conferences in January:  I was reminded that we folks of the Orono and Alton United Methodist Churches are not alone in our ministries.  We are part of a great, diverse, gifted family attending a United Methodist Church, whether it’s a small church on the Canadian border in Vanceboro, Maine, or a huge inner city church in Washington, DC.  There are millions of people across the country, who like us, gather together each Sunday morning to determine how we can faithfully answer God’s call on our lives.

Some statistics you may find interesting:

  • In our district (the Northern Maine District, which covers an area from Newport to Presque Isle) there are 59 United Methodist Churches.

  • In the New England Conference, there are 546 United Methodist Churches.

  • There are approximately 30,000 United Methodist Churches in the United States.

  • The world-wide United Methodist Church includes about 13 million members.

     If you’ve been attending a United Methodist Church for a bit of time, you no doubt have heard reference to our “connectional system.”  That is, United Methodist churches and its people are not learning about and serving God alone-we are all connected together, sharing ministries, resources, dreams and goals.  There’s something to be said for being a part of a big family, don’t you think?