A Love Letter to My Congregations…

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Grace and peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ! It is good to be with you during these days. The Lord has brought us to this point in time and will guide us through the time that is to come. Over the past several years we have loved God and one another. As we look towards the coming months, we will continue to love God and one another.

Yes, you read that correctly. In just a few words I can say it clear, your pastor loves you. The best way for me to show you that love is to let you know of the changes coming to our once beloved denomination. To ignore the truth about the United Methodist Church is not a loving way to live. Our current denomination is in trouble. You know this to be true.

From May 5th to May 15th, 864 lay and clergy delegates from around the world will be in Minneapolis, Minnesota for the 2020 General Conference. They are tasked with the business of making decisions for the future of the current denomination. The major part of their work will be to sift through and decide which plan they will adopt. Many in the UMC see a split becoming official. Regardless of what is decided, grace from God and all involved will be necessary.

Depending upon which plan is adopted, it may be within one year or even two years before the Annual Conferences will decide how they move forward. The boundaries, clergy members, and the number of local churches within all Annual Conferences could change. There will be a celebration of the years that God worked in and among the several Annual Conferences. There will be mourning for what once was and will be no more.

Along the way, as these decisions are made at the General Conference and the Annual Conference, we are here. The decision for Pine Grove and Hartmans Chapel will be the decision that only each congregation can make. I will be alongside both congregations as any decision is made, if any decision is made. Any insight, encouragement, warning, or prayer that I can give, will be available.

I do know this fact. God’s grace has gotten us to this point in life. We are here to love our neighbors, make disciples of Jesus, and praise God. As the Holy Spirit has directed us in the past, He will continue to do so in the future, no matter what decision the 2020 General Conference or upcoming Holston Annual Conference sessions decide. Our work as Christ’s representatives in this world is not finished. We have many souls to save, relationships to fortify, and glory to give. Let us be about the work for which God has placed us here!

Throughout the coming months and years, may we be found in Christ’s service.

May we love as Christ has loved us,
Reverend John L. Grimm

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