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What do you think about our new 10:30AM start time?:

April 2018

As most of you know, my appointment here at Christ UMC is ¾ time. I spend the other ¼ of my time at Simpson UMC. Christ and Simpson have been in this arrangement of sharing a pastor since 2014 , when Rev. Darlene Robinson was appointed ¾ time at Christ and ¼ time at Simpson.  Simpson is currently holding worship at 12 noon each Sunday. In addition, they have a thriving youth ministry with worship and study every Sunday afternoon. They have a number of weekly community ministries, a monthly community meal, and they host a food bank. Simpson has a long history of spiritual leadership on the near West Side. At least four pastors have received their call to ministry from that congregation, and the first woman to become an ordained elder in the conference was appointed to Simpson UMC.

Although Simpson’s ministries are vital to the neighborhood, the membership at Simpson has not been able to support a full time pastor for a number of years; and, as with so many of our congregations, as the Simpson congregation has aged, funding has become an increasing challenge. For many years, Simpson has also been in a relationship with Westlake UMC. In 2012, Westlake and Simpson formalized their longstanding work together by joining in a Covenant Ministry Partnership, which included shared Lenten worship, Bible studies, and especially shared ministry to youth. Last year, the Youth Ministry Coordinator at Westlake led a confirmation class for Simpson youth, culminating in the confirmation of 8 youth. Westlake UMC has recognized the importance of continuing ministry in the Simpson neighborhood. So, this fall, members of Simpson and Westlake joined together in a task force to look at the feasibility of joining the two congregations together as a Multi-Site Church.

On April 8, our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Steve Bailey, will preach here at Christ and at Simpson UMC.  Following worship at Simpson, there will be a Church Conference to vote on closing the Simpson church, in order that it might be reborn as a second campus of Westlake UMC. The following Sunday, April 15, Rev. Dr. Bailey will preach at Westlake UMC and lead a Church Conference with that congregation to vote to take on the membership and assets of Simpson and to continue ministry at Simpson as a satellite campus of Westlake UMC. In this season of Easter, I am struck by the powerful image of resurrection and rebirth that has the potential to be realized in this process. I invite your prayers for both congregations and for the leadership of both churches as they prayerfully consider becoming a Multi-Site Church.

I write in part to keep you informed and in part to lift up this example of two United Methodist communities that are stepping out boldly in faith. May we be inspired to remain open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in our own life together here at Christ United Methodist Church.

And remember… Fear Not