Sunday, June 8, 2014

I'm terrible at "Goodbye."

Dear Shiloh Church Family, 

I’m not good at goodbye.  In fact, I like to avoid goodbye at all cost. Goodbyes are awkward, painful, and I just don't like them!  But this Sunday, June 15, is my last opportunity to say goodbye.  Last week I was having a conversation with the Director of the Office of Ministry and former member of Shiloh, Rev. Wade Giffin.  Wade asked me how things were going and how I was handling the goodbye.  In a moment of sincere honesty, I said to Wade, “Wade, I’m sad.  Although I know God has clearly called me to serve at Ginghamsburg Church, it’s really hard to leave the people and the ministry I love!  It’s really hard to say goodbye.”  Wade reminded me that Shiloh was the first opportunity God, along with the Bishop, gifted me to serve as Senior Pastor.  He said, “you never forget that first appointment as Senior Pastor.  The place and the people always hold a special place in your heart!”  Wade was right!  (He’s always right!)  It’s why it’s so hard to say goodbye.

Shiloh, for the last four years you have been a gift!  You have been a gift of grace, love, and leadership.  You’ve been a space and place for me to train and to work my leadership muscles.  There have been moments that I’m sure you’ve wanted to write the Bishop and say, “I’m not too sure about this,” but there have been other moments when God’s presence has been so real, so tangible we could literally feel it.  We knew we were making the right decisions.  Perhaps one of the reasons I am struggling to say goodbye is because I am inspired by your courage.  You have a history of courage: your forefathers and mothers in the faith stepped out in courage determined to start a Methodist movement right on the corner of Anderson Ferry and Foley Road.  They were determined to see lives transformed, to touch a community, and to make disciples for the transformation of the world!  But that courage didn’t stop with them!  No!  You were determined to do your part by investing your lives and resources in this movement of God!  And for you, it wasn’t just about Delhi.  You had the courage to say our neighbors in Price Hill are also part of this God movement and so you’ve decided we have to invest God’s resources in Price Hill!  And now you have the courage to move on, to rally behind an exceptional leader, Rev. David Hood.  Pastor Dave is one of the most courageous leaders I know, his faith is genuine, his walk with Jesus real, and he is going to challenge Shiloh to continue to take courageous steps into God’s future!  But in order for Shiloh’s future to be God’s future, I have to say goodbye.

Goodbye, Shiloh.  When greeting the church in Thessalonica, Paul wrote, “We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers” (1 Thessalonians 1: 2 NIV).  Shiloh, I thank God for you!  I thank God for the gift you have been in my life and the life of my family!  We will never be the same because of your generosity and love.  Shiloh, you will always be in my prayers!  I will pray for you!  I will pray that God continues to give you the gift of courage, and I will pray that God ignites a movement so full of God’s fire that the whole world is touched by its flames!  Shiloh, I love you!  

With Jesus’ Love, 

Pastor Rachel 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wear Red!

Nearly 2000 years ago a group of Jesus followers gathered in Jerusalem to wait for the help that Jesus promised to send their way.  Suddenly, without warning, the room was filled with a violent wind and something that looked like flaming tongues fell all over the men and women gathered.  This weird but fascinating spiritual experience happened on the Jewish festival of Pentecost.  As Christians, we celebrate this occasion as the birth of the church, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and the event that ignited God’s kingdom movement on earth.  And it’s the one time of the year that the church wears red.  Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with liturgical colors-there are colors for every season in the church.  White for Easter, blue (purple) for Advent, purple for Lent, green for Ordinary Time, and red for Pentecost.  It’s a great opportunity to wear red!  We wear red to celebrate the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives and the lives of others.  
At Shiloh, it’s also the Sunday that we celebrate our confirmands.  The confirmands are young men and women who have spent the last 6 months preparing themselves to say yes to Jesus and yes to the Church.  On Sunday, during the 9:30am service, we will celebrate with 10 confirmands their commitment to following Jesus.  Discipleship is no simple decision; not only have these confirmands spent time learning with Pastor Brent, but they have been lead by mentors, attended various worship experiences, and served in the church.  They have spent this season of their lives getting ready to say yes to following Jesus!  At the 11:00am services at Delhi and Price Hill, we will be experiencing baptism.  Baptism is also a sign of commitment to following Jesus Christ.  These are incredible ways to celebrate Pentecost!  That’s what is happening in our local church, but our Annual Conference begins Sunday as well. 
58 of the 88 counties in Ohio make up The West Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.  Starting on Sunday, lay people and pastors from nearly 1100 churches will gather for what we call Holy Conferencing.  It’s an opportunity for us to worship together, conduct the business of the church, celebrate those who are retiring, those who have gone on to glory and the pastors who are being ordained.  Did you know that former Senior Pastor, Rev. Bill Patterson, is retiring this year?  Not only is Pastor Bill retiring, but Pastor Danny will be speaking at the Youth Big Event and our worship band will be leading the youth of the Annual Conference in worship.  I ask that you be in prayer for the conversations and decisions that will be made at this year’s Annual Conference!  
The fresh wind of the Holy Spirit continues to move and this week we have the honor of celebrating some of the most significant spiritual moments in people’s lives.  So I encourage you to wear red and come celebrate with us!     

Pastor Rachel 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Oh The Places You'll Go

Just the other day I was reading Dr. Suess’s, “Oh the Places You’ll Go” to my eight year old daughter Adeline.  The book was a high school graduation gift from my best friend Sarah Davidson Driesbach.  I still remember the feelings of fear coupled with absolute excitement as we wondered where our lives would end up post high school.  Next weekend, Sunday June 1, we will be celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates and I suspect they will be dreaming of their futures with that same combination of fear and excitement.  Whether graduating from high school or college, many of our students will be asking the questions, “What’s my major?” or “Will I get a job?”  These practical questions are really all about purpose.  People are really asking themselves and God the question, “What is my purpose?”  We were created for a purpose--to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves.  Loving God and loving others changes the world.  Our graduates are world changers!  We can’t wait to see how our graduates will use their lives and their gifts to change the world for Jesus Christ! 
But we need more than the graduates to invest in this next opportunity to change the world!  The weekend of June 7/8 we will be taking up a special Shiloh Fest offering.  On the first Saturday of August, hundreds of people will come to Shiloh to collect necessary school supplies for the first week of school.  As many parents and guardians know, school supplies are expensive and every year Shiloh is able to partner with families by providing over 800 backpacks full of supplies.  The Shiloh Fest offering is an opportunity for us to personally invest in the education of our children and teens.  Kids matter--kids matter to us and they matter to God.  There will be special Shiloh Fest envelopes in the bulletins June 1st and 8th.  I challenge you to give generously.  
Graduates and non-graduates alike, I want to leave you with a little advice from Dr. Suess, your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea, you’re off to Great Places!  Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So...get on your way!   


Pastor Rachel 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

You are called!

This week I heard our own District Superintendent, Rev. Brian Brown, remind our Leadership Council that all of us are called.  We all work for Jesus and Jesus Christ has laid claim to our lives.  Rev. Brown was reminded us of our call to ministry, whether clergy or not.  We were gathered to help Pastor Danny wrestle with his call to ministry.   On Tuesday night, May 13th, the Staff Pastor Parish Relations Committee, along with the Charge Conference, confirmed Pastor Danny’s request to become a Candidate for vocation of Local Licensed Ministry in The United Methodist Church.  It was refreshing to hear the movement of God in Danny’s life and how Shiloh has become part of Danny’s call to ministry!  As Danny and others have discovered, the steps toward credentialed ministry are numerous and it’s a process that takes time.  For the next several years of Danny’s life, he will be in the process of being and becoming a Licensed Minister.  For those of us unfamiliar to the process, you might be asking yourself, "What does that mean?"  It means that although Danny functions as a pastor on staff here at Shiloh, he is working through the education and formational requirements.  He has been and will continue to meet with our District Board of Ordained Ministry.  This summer Danny will attend Local Licensing School, and when he has completed the steps and is affirmed by the District will become appointed as a Local Licensed Pastor at Shiloh.  You also may be asking the question, “What will change?”  For Danny, a lot, for you not much.  The biggest change you will experience is that being a Local Licensed Pastor gifts Danny with the opportunity to administer the sacraments (Holy Baptism and Communion) within the context of the local church.  It doesn’t mean that the Senior Pastor will stop administering the sacraments, but it means that there will be more than one person on staff able to administer the sacraments at Shiloh.  This will give Pastor Danny the opportunity to explore new gifts in ministry and deepen his practice of church leadership.       
On Wednesday, Pastor Dave and I gathered with hundreds of clergy throughout our Annual Conference for Clergy Session.  Once again the topic at hand, call to ministry.  This time focused on those persons coming into ministry and those persons going out.  As I listened to several clergy give witness to the presence of God and the call of God in their lives, Rev. Brown’s words rang true.  We are all called to ministry!  This is truth!  This is truth for you!  Whether ministry comes in the form of your professional career or ministry becomes a vocational opportunity, we are all called to ministry!  You are called!  If you’ve been wrestling with a call to ministry, please see one of the pastors at Shiloh, so that we can help you prayerfully discern that call!  
I challenge you to continue to pray for Pastor Danny and all the pastors on staff at Shiloh as we continue to wrestle with God’s call on our lives.  


Pastor Rachel 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother’s Day, Shiloh!  It’s interesting that our culture takes one day a year to celebrate motherhood!  I believe being a mom is a gift, but it’s a gift that comes with incredible responsibility.  And in the church, it’s not just about biology; mothers are the many women who invest their time and resources in improving the lives of women and children throughout the world.  What about the girls in Nigeria?   The promises we make at baptism makes me pray for, mourn with, and frankly angrily want to do something about the 234 school girls who were abducted in Nigeria last month!  Why?  Because these girls are our girls!  They may not be my children biologically, but every time a child is baptized, I make promises to God that says, “I will help this child become a disciple of Jesus Christ.”  We are family!      
On the cusp of the abduction, 8000 United Methodist Women gathered from throughout the world in Louisville, Kentucky, for the quadrennial (every 4 years) UMW Assembly.  The UMW is an organization of nearly 1 million women throughout the world and although the average age of an UMW member is 67 in the US, women in Africa are flocking to UMW meetings by the hundreds.  There is a real global interest in the development of women and girls throughout the world.  Why?  Because change, real life world-changing kind of change, happens when women are empowered!  From education to micro-businesses, the empowerment of women changes communities, it changes countries, it changes the world!  Two members of our United Methodist Women attended Assembly, Nancy Gallat and Kathy Erpelding.  There they not only heard testimony of the many ways that the UMW changes children’s and women’s lives, but they were also challenged to do their part!  The theme of the Assembly was, “Make It Happen!  Faith, Hope, and Love in Action.”  The UMW were challenged by fellow United Methodist Hillary Rodham Clinton.  who reminded the women that it wasn’t Jesus who fed the hungry.  He blessed the food, allowed it to multiply, and then said to his disciples, ‘YOU feed them.”  Nancy shared, “that’s what Jesus is asking of us!  People are hungry for safety, justice, peace, and of course food.”  Both Kathy and Nancy said it was an incredible reminder of the missional DNA of the United Methodist Women.  “It’s why we do the Rummage Sale in the first place!”  It’s not about the stuff, it’s about people and changing the lives of people throughout the world.  
Today millions of women and children are separated from their families because they’ve been forced into slavery.  It’s not just the 234 school girls from Nigeria, it’s millions.    As we celebrate Mother’s Day, remember the world’s kids are our kids and Jesus is asking us to do something about it, “YOU feed them.”  

To find out more about the UMW and 234 girls go to: 


Pastor Rachel 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Did you know?

There are awesome things happening in the life of the church and I wanted to share a few of them with you:

Where we have been: Holy Week and Easter
  • On Palm Sunday, 70 people gathered to watch our No Strings Attached Puppet Ministry present “Planned With A Purpose.”
  • 60 shared in Holy Communion on Maundy Thursday .
  • 101 prayed through Stations of the Cross .
  • Over 725 people celebrated the risen Christ in one of our four worship services on Easter Sunday .
  • Our Children’s Ministry experienced over 100 kids through our two locations . 

Where we are going: May 
  • May 4 is interim Campus Pastor Dave Hood’s first Sunday at our Price Hill Location.
  • May 7 & 8 Rummage Sale                                                      
  • May 11 we will celebrate Mother’s Day .
  • May 15 6:30pm The United Methodist Women have the Annual Spring Dinner at the Farm. 
  • May 15 7pm the Daniel Plan course begins at the Delhi Campus.  
  • May 17 at 8:30am Change the World Day we will be loving our Price Hill neighbors.


Pastor Rachel 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This is My Body…..This is My Blood

Today as I read through the story of Jesus, the disciples and His Last Supper, I was reminded that Christians throughout the whole world are receiving Communion today-- Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, Orthodox and yes, even some Non-Denominational Churches participate in Maundy Thursday services.  There is something incredibly unifying when I imagine people who don't look like me, speak my language, and are not part of the same church receive the gift of Jesus' body and blood.  Today as you continue to read through the last week of Jesus' life, I want to challenge you to remember what unifies us, what makes us part of the same family!  No matter how big our differences, Jesus Christ is Lord of us all!    

I also want to remind you that tonight, Thursday, April 17, at 7pm we will be having a Maundy Thursday Service in Fellowship Hall.  It is an incredible way to remember The Last Supper and prepare for the remainder of Holy Week.  

Don't forget we also have the opportunity to pray through Stations of the Cross in the sanctuary tomorrow, Friday, April 18, 11am-7pm.  And our Easter Services are this Sunday, April 20, at our Delhi Campus 8, 9:30am, and 11am and at our Price Hill Campus at 11am.  

We are the body of Christ redeemed by His Blood!  


Pastor Rachel