July 02, 2021
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have received so many virtual hugs, handwritten and emailed notes, and even a delicious edible arrangement to welcome me to the community of St. Mark’s. I’m thrilled to be joining you as your lead pastor, excited to meet you and to work alongside of you in this journey of life. You will get to know me more in the coming weeks and months and years. For the immediate future, I want to offer you a chance to come by and meet me outside of worship. You will see several “Meet the Pastor” times on the schedule below (some Zoom options will be added later). These are informal times to come to Fellowship Hall and say hi. Masks are required; we aren’t sharing food or drink together, just conversation. If you can’t make one, don’t worry – we will have lots of opportunity to connect! This is just the beginning!
Any time I have moved to a new community, I become nostalgic about my past. My past has influenced me and made me who I am, so I often think about those formative years. I grew up in rural Florida. My county-seat town had one high school with 165 students in my graduating class. We had three stop lights, two fast food restaurants and two sit-down local restaurants. 4-H and FFA were big, tobacco barns were commonplace and you gave directions by landmarks because the dirt roads weren’t named. Everyone knew everyone, and most of them were related.
Downtown, in the park across the street from the courthouse, was the Four Freedoms monument. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt named these four freedoms in his inauguration speech to the nation in January 1941. As the nation was watching events unfold in Europe, Roosevelt made his case to the nation for its involvement in helping Great Britain. He stated that the United States was fighting for the universal freedoms that all people possessed: the freedom of speech, the freedom of worship, the freedom from want and the freedom from fear.
(For more information on this, see this article: https://www.fdrlibrary.org/four-freedoms)
As we move toward this July 4 weekend, these freedoms stand out for me. This holiday isn’t about fireworks and parades and the flag. It’s about the freedoms we have worked so hard to provide for all people. We don’t always get it right, but we must continue to try and try again. We must continue to work for those freedoms for everyone.
As Christians, we know the freedoms we fight for are rooted in the freedom that we have in Christ. As the song says, “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free.” Our sins and our past need not define who we are. The grace God offers us through Christ sets us free from that, free to live a life of love for God and for others.
Celebrate (responsibly!) this weekend, and we will see you in worship in person or online, as we thank God for the freedom given to us through Christ.
Meet the Pastor in Fellowship Hall – masks are required! No appointment necessary.
July 6 – 1 p.m.
July 15 – 9 a.m.
July 15 – 6 p.m.
July 19 – 9 a.m.
Three ways to access our pre-recorded service:
- From the main menu on our website click WORSHIP
- Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.
- The YouTube link will also be shared on Facebook St. Mark’s UMC Tucson or use this link.
The service will go live at 9:45 a.m.