Gabriel's Horn, Pastor Tim, July, 2011

posted Jul 3, 2011, 11:41 AM by Lois Kerchner   [ updated Jul 3, 2011, 11:47 AM ]

Dear Friends and Members of Leola United Methodist Church,

 We have just completed our “Healthy Response to Conflict” workshops lead by Dr. Sharon Barley and Gary Bonalumi. Each of the workshops was well attended.   I would like to share some of what I learned from these workshops.
 I learned that not all conflict is bad but can actually be healthy.  When we try to avoid conflict, we could actually be harming ourselves.  Healthy conflict allows us to take inventory of what is important to us, to stretch and grow as a person, and to see life from another person’s perspective.
 At our last session, each person was asked to imagine a brown and white dog.  After writing down our descriptions, we shared with the group.  The assignment was easy for me since our family has a tan and white dog.  Not surprising, everyone’s description was different, which made the point that each person experiences life differently.   Of course there was no right or wrong answer.   Dr. Barley concluded this exercise by stating that how each of us views the church is how the church will be: either it will move forward or be stuck.  If we have a positive image of the church, then that is how we will grow.
A healthy response to conflict is to show love and respect to each other; we are able to accomplish this by listening carefully to the other person.  While listening, we need to be careful not to dismiss the person’s concern or make judgment statements.  There are times when not everyone will agree, and that is all right.  However, we continue to treat each others as sisters and brothers in faith.  As members of the church, we are in a covenant relationship with each other.  We listen to each other out of love and respect.
While the workshops were excellent, I realize that the challenge will be to put into practice what we have learned.  As I’ve said before, when everyone is working together for the glory of God, there is no stopping what the church can accomplish.
As the workshop concluded, we were given two assignments.  We are to work on a conflict policy.  When our Staff Parish Relation Committee completes the conflict policy, it will be shared with the entire congregation.
A second task calls for a closer examination of our strategic plan to determine direction for our church’s future.  Over the summer months a group will be formed to review the strategic plan.  Our goal will be to implement some of its findings and recommendations.  Again, this will be shared with the congregation.
 I would like to thank everyone who attended the workshops.  I truly believe that what we learned together will benefit the church for many years to come.  One of my favorite Bible verses is from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, where he writes, “I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.”  I echo that same sentiment.
I am truly thrilled to be part of the Leola United Methodist Church family.  This month marks the start of my second year as your pastor.  As always, you are welcome to share your thoughts and ideas with me.

See you in church,
Pastor Tim