Friday, April 29, 2011


I am a member of the Buda United Methodist Church and, in June, our Pastor will transfer out of town for a new position with the United Methodist Church. So we say that we are losing our pastor.

For me, this is a bittersweet experience. For while we lose a pastor, we will get a new one. So, as I contemplate all that this means and will be , I try to reflect the lessons that I have learned in my time with our pastor.

Not long after I moved from Alabama to Texas and joined BUMC, Pastor Teresa preached a sermon about keeping our roots grounded in the foundation of God. She explained to us that we can keep roots and fly simultaneously. As long as our roots are grounded in God, we are able to fly: to move, and achieve great things. We can move anywhere, as long as we remain grounded in God. Our roots remain in the same place. This sermon had a profound impact on me as I was adjusting to my new life in Texas and looking for validation that my new location was indeed the will of God for my life.

As time went on, I remember that she encouraged our congregation to accept a new pastor when our associate pastor transferred to a different church. She reminded us that although we could never find anyone who would replace Pastor Kim in our hearts, God allowed our hearts to stretch to allow new people in . And it is through this stretching process that we grow.

This reminded me of what my oldest son said one time: He said, "Mom, I don't like my brother." I asked him why he felt that way.

He said, "Because before he was born, I had all of the love from you and Daddy. And after he was born, I had to share your love. Then I had only half as much." I told him that I understood what he meant, but that he didn't have it quite right. The truth was that when God gives a couple a new baby, he at the same time, gives them a full measure of increase in their capacity for love. So, his amount of love from us was the same: it's just that God gave us an extra dose of love so that we would have enough for his brother too."

I think that is what God does when he brings new people into our lives. He allows our hearts to stretch to love the people that were already there, as well as to love the new ones. It is through his gift of an additional measure of love that our heart stretches.

Another thing that I heard from Pastor Teresa is the concept of God "loving us with a love that will not let go." That is the universal parentage of God. This is the love of the father for the prodigal son. It never let go. His son, no matter where he traveled, had never traveled far enough to outrun the love of his father, or of God. I have integrated this into the message that I tell my sons: that, like God, I love them with a love that will not let them go. That is not to say that I won't let them go when the time comes. But that my love will not let them go. It is bigger than their problems, and trials; it is bigger than me or them, or as a former pastor says, it is bigger than death.

It is the kind of love that allows us to continue to grind our roots deeper into the soil of God, the word of life; yet the love that allows us to fly, even with roots. It is the kind of love that allows a pastor to leave and fly, knowing that she has her roots in the right place and that no matter where she goes, she will not travel past our love or the love of God.

These are the core lessons that I will remember from Teresa Welborn's ministry at our church. We each will keep the lessons that we have learned from her and this will become her legacy; her lasting gift to us.


  1. Thank you for this gift. I'm at home missing my Church family today. You brought tears to my eyes.
    Love you, Beverly

  2. Thank you, Beverly, for your kind remarks. As our church continues through our transitions, we will all have our own memories. And then we will make new ones.