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What more can we do?

“Everybody has a story that will break your heart.  And if you’re paying close enough attention, most people have a story that will bring you to your knees.”  Brene Brown (The Summer Sister Series on The Gifts of Imperfection, Part 1 of 6, June 23, 2021)

There are many of us who have stories that will break our hearts. In the last month we have seen stories on climate change, wild fires, Afghanistan, hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, COVID-19.  If we are paying close enough attention, these stories will bring us to our knees. Our prayers are necessary for our heart and soul as we pray, sometimes with no words, for comfort and care as well as hope to pour forth on those who are hurting and suffering.

What more can we do?  We can use our gifts and our resources in several ways to help bring comfort, care, and hope to our siblings near and far.  Week of Compassion is working endless hours around the world.  You care by reading about their work on our behalf below and you bring comfort and hope by offering a donation before you leave the website.  Creating Church World Service Emergency Clean-up Buckets (or Health Kits) is a way for your community to have a hands-on, working together opportunity to bring comfort, care, and hope upon delivery to people in disaster areas.  The COVID-19 vaccination is also a wonderful way for us to protect ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and all our children, from this highly contagious virus that has become unpredictable for our health and the world’s health and well-being.  Our prayers and our work together will certainly bring healing and wholeness to this broken and fragmented world in ways that we cannot yet see, but is promised through Jesus Christ.  Let’s be disciples of Christ . . .

Hurricane and Flooding Damage

Welcoming Afghanistan refugee families

Relief efforts needed for Haiti earthquake

2021-09-14T11:03:08-05:00Sep 14, 2021|Pamela Holt Blog|Comments Off on What more can we do?

Wonderful! Restful! Fruitful!

This summer, the Region granted me a three month sabbatical.  I was hungry for some rest, yes, but I was also very hungry to find a deeper, stronger, more resilient faith.  After a wonderful, restful, and fruitful sabbatical, I am pleased to return to the call to serve the Regional Church!  I am grateful for the Regional Executive Committee and the Regional Board for their encouragement and support for this sabbatical time.  And I am also grateful for the Regional Staff and Rev. Paxton Jones for their dedication, knowledge, and wisdom to continue the ministry as expected.

So what did I do on this sabbatical?  Several things.  On May 1st, Randy and I moved temporarily to a cottage on a sizable horse ranch in Mineral Wells, Texas.  We brought our cat, our dog, and our two horses with us.  While there, we also welcomed a feral cat, a longhorn, and a crawdad!  The month of May was a muddy mess.  It rained every single day!

I began this sabbatical by taking the Faith Institute’s “Teaching Healthy Boundaries 101 & 201.” While this course was intended for me to join our other trainers in preparation for teaching Healthy Boundaries to clergy, it really helped me understand more fully why self-care boundaries are so important for clergy, even during sabbaticals.

Randy and I both were refreshed in our souls by sharing many evenings with friends we have not seen in several years. Around many tables, we broke bread and drank wine. We laughed and we wept with one another as we shared our joys and lamented our sorrows we had experienced over the last several years.

Family Time

We spent two weeks of this sabbatical time in Pagosa Springs, Colorado where we gathered with our children, our three year old grandson, and Randy’s sister and brother-in-law. This time was absolutely delight-full as we ate together and played together. Our adventures included fishing, hiking, shopping, and exploring through the eyes of a three year old! We also gathered as family at Lobo Lookout at Wolf Creek Pass to finally spread the ashes of our son Brook who died in December of 2018.

We also gathered with my family to finally join the ashes of my mother, Shirley Green, with my father in Arlington, Texas.

Sorrow permeated my sabbatical when Rev. Dr. Don Pittman died. And that same week, my favorite professor from TCU, Dr. Ronald B. Flowers died, and Rev. Bob Stewart died. All three of these men influenced my call to ministry in profound ways. I cling to the joy of knowing them and remembering them in simple and profound ways.

True Connection

The pinnacle of my sabbatical was a surprise invitation to participate in an eight day horse conference north of Dallas, Texas.  The leader would be a woman I had never heard of, Ingela Larsson Smith, a professional horsewoman from Canada, who was offering an opportunity to have “True Connection” with your horse.  I had one hour to decide and pay to reserve my place.  I had the time, the horse, the trailer, and the money, and a very supportive husband!

Of course, I went with one set of expectations and came away awed and fulfilled . . . let me explain, very simply.  In the first lecture, Ingela shared that she was a professional dressage rider and horse trainer around the world. She has trained the Queen of England’s horses and horses for the Sheik in the Middle East. Impressive, right? But she continued to say that her performance path left her heart yearning for something more, something deeper. So she turned to the Christian faith. She shared with her twelve students that we could never have “true connection” with our horses unless we had a “true connection with God.”  Full stop, right?  In other words, we as humans can make horses perform and work, but for a horse to choose us as a leader, and choose to be in relationship with us, we have to find a way to be fully present.

Before we ever got to the arena with our horses, she invited us to consider our relationship with God.  God’s deepest desire, or hunger, is that we will choose to be in full relationship with God.  That is easier said that done and where we often get confused. For a visual, Ingela placed three chairs in front of us.  One of the three chairs represented the unbelievers in the world.  People who have not yet heard the good news or choose not to believe it.  A second chair represented all the believers, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, all those who believe in God and have a faith tradition.  This is a good place to be, of course, but it is a place where we are also driven by the cultural demands of society . . . achieving, doing, ladders to success, demands. It becomes a place where we begin to hunger for more and more only to discover exhaustion and depletion.

The third chair represented God — the full, unconditional, steadfast love of God, who is fully present to us and lavishes us with love and grace when we choose to be in God’s presence, every time.  This is the place to gently push aside and silence the many voices that question our goodness and to trust that you will hear a voice of blessing, and most importantly to realize that God walks with us, together.  Ingela asked us, “In which chair would you like to sit?”

Of course, we all opted for the third chair because we are deeply hungry for this true connection with God, but we realized that we all, even as the best disciples of Christ, find ourselves in the second chair most often, distracted by the demands of our culture and daily work/tasks, and often lured by the critical voices in our head.  To have true connection with your horse, Ingela said, you must find your way into the chair of God for yourself, to be loved without any distraction, to be fully and truly accepted for all that you are created in God’s image, and to be anointed over and over again with goodness and mercy. This, Ingela said, is the kind of presence you will need to be with your horse — fully present in your mind, in your heart, in your soul.  At that moment, your horse will find true connection with you and you will walk together.

In the afternoon practical applications of Ingela’s lectures with our horses, all twelve of us found that magical and mystical moment of true connection with our horses. As you might imagine, holding on to it is another challenge!

I was on the edge of my seat for every word Ingela uttered about faith and relationships. And, feeling truly inspired and connected, equipped and empowered, I have discovered a new level of servant leadership both with my horse and with ministry. What I know for sure is that it is not all about me, it is about “we” and what we do together.

Again, I am deeply grateful for this time of rest and renewal to discover a deeper, stronger, more resilient connection with God, and I am equally as grateful to return to you as we do ministry together!

Peace & God’s Grace,

2021-08-10T12:40:35-05:00Aug 10, 2021|Pamela Holt Blog, Regional News|Comments Off on Wonderful! Restful! Fruitful!

Ready? Set? Go! Wait, I’m not ready!

Remember the children’s game, “Ready?  Set?  Go!”  These are the words I’m hearing in my mind as I prepare to depart my Regional responsibilities for a long awaited three month sabbatical. Am I “ready?”  No, I’m not!  Am I “set?”  Wait! I’m not ready!

I entered into the work force when I was 15 years old, and I have worked every year since with only two weeks vacation most years. In the latter years, four weeks but I never took all four at once. I was eligible for a sabbatical in 2007, but I gave it to my colleague instead who desperately needed it. I was eligible for a sabbatical again in 2013, but I chose to forego it so I could apply for this current position. I was supposed to take this sabbatical last year, but COVID-19 came. This year, I’m going, ready or not!

I have created a list of things to do while on sabbatical! After being trained to become a Healthy Boundaries trainer, my list includes rigorous exercise, playing with horses, reading a long list of books, writing every day, volunteering at a local community garden or food pantry, burying my mother’s ashes and spreading our son’s ashes, and reconnecting with family and many (vaccinated) friends.

My executive coach, Rev. Cameron Trimble, has advised me to set aside this long, too-long, list of things to do. Rather, she says, I need to make a list of ways “to be” ~ to rest and reclaim the person God has intended. Robert Saler in Planning Sabbaticals reminds me of the same wisdom in four important points:

  1. He recommends taking the “joy vs. obligation test.” Is the activity on my list going to bring joy or is it an obligation? Sounds a bit like Marie Kondo!
  2. He cautions not to make the mistake of creating a bucket list rather than balancing energy. The goals of a renewal leave all depend upon a deliberate pace with lots of “downtime” for reflection and processing built in.
  3. He encourages reveling in unplanned detours, surprises, or other deviations from the “script”. In other words, make space for improvisation or the Holy Spirit.
  4. Most of all . . . dream.  Breathe. Give yourself over to the vulnerability of showing the world what it is that feeds your soul. That trust is the cornerstone of sabbaticals that renew and delight. Robert Saler, Planning Sabbaticals, (Missouri: Chalice Press, 2019) 39-48.

I think I will listen to these two wise, experienced mentors who are both encouraging me to practice being and not doing. I truly pray my time away will be filled with the grace and mercy of God to be renewed and prepared for a new season of shared ministry and mission with you all.

So, ready or not, I am going! As I walk out the door in a few weeks I am reminded of Wayne Muller’s words:

“Jesus did not wait until everyone had been properly cared for, until all who sought him had healed. He did not ask permission to go, nor did he leave anyone behind “on call,” or even let his disciples know where he was going. Jesus obeyed a deeper rhythm. When the moment for rest had come, the time for healing was over. He would simply stop, retire to a quiet place, and pray . . . When Jesus prayed he was at rest, nourished by the healing spirit that saturates those still, quiet places.”  Wayne Muller, Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives (New York: Bantam, 1999), 25.

Like Jesus, I am going, leaving some tasks untended. Unlike Jesus, I have permission! And, I am leaving you in the very competent hands of Rev. Paxton Jones, the Acting Regional Minister, Associate Regional Minister Rev. Michael Davison, and Executive Assistant Ellen Spleth, who serve as the Regional Staff, and of course, the Regional Executive Committee and Board are equipped to handle anything that might arise. Thank you all for this privilege of rest and to be nourished by the healing spirit.

2021-04-07T13:43:05-05:00Apr 7, 2021|Pamela Holt Blog, Regional News|Comments Off on Ready? Set? Go! Wait, I’m not ready!

Ministry in Extraordinary Times

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Oklahoma
Report to the General Board
Prepared by Pamela G. Holt, Regional Minister
December 21, 2020 

Continuing to Connect, Empower, and Equip Oklahoma Disciples to Love & Serve Like Jesus In a Pandemic

No one has been exempt from this unprecedented season of a pandemic.  Life began to change rapidly in mid-March and all aspects of ministry changed for clergy and congregations.  The grief, from transitioning to on-line worship and deaths, is real and deep and feels unending.  We’ve seen in clergy and congregations stages of denial, anger, tears, frustration, depression.  It is difficult to get to the healing stages of grief because we are still in the midst of such pain.

However, this pandemic has also revealed our determination and commitment and love of serving Jesus.  In mid-March, within a week, pastors and congregations figured out how to worship on-line.  Worships around the Region are so creative!  Some congregations cautiously figured out how to return to the sanctuary.  Others continue to worship on-line. Some found worshiping outdoors to be particularly meaningful.

As time marched on, ministers and members found new ways to connect with their flock. Leadership teams stepped up to do more connecting with their people.  While it is not the same and while still longing to be together, folks till have their eyes fixed on Jesus giving thanks every Sunday, taking communion virtually, and offering gifts electronically.

Oklahoma congregations have found ways to continue their ministry in the community by feeding the hungry, preparing and serving hot meals and delivering, making backpacks, making activity bags and delivering to doorsteps, hosting drive bys for a celebration of a birthday or a graduation, renovating the pre-school areas or children’s areas, providing school for struggling students, paying attention to the health care workers and chaplain colleagues, taking a special offering for their neighbors or Week of Compassion. They altered their witness and care for one another the best they could when they could not be physically present with one another, especially in sickness or in death.  Oklahoma Disciples have picked up the essentials and are still witnesses to the love and grace of God.  It is hard and challenging us at every level.  And, it is beautiful. 

Click here to download the entire report in pdf format.

2021-03-09T06:29:29-06:00Mar 8, 2021|Pamela Holt Blog|Comments Off on Ministry in Extraordinary Times

Which Story Will You Choose?

Dear Friends in Ministry,

Thank you for serving as a minister in the Region of Oklahoma! I am always grateful for your pastoral presence, your leadership, and your faithfulness especially in the last few months. I know you all are physically, mentally, and spiritually weary from all that you have had to do to transition to on-line worship. And yet, you are still hopeful, encouraging, and caring for your flock in amazing, creative ways. While I highly recommend some down time for rest and re-creation, I also realize this weekend is bringing another round of anxiety, especially in Tulsa.

The Presidential Rally is headed to Tulsa. Hundreds of thousands of people will be attending this Presidential Rally. My mind and heart cannot even fathom the timing of this event on Saturday, June 20th, for a couple of reasons. June 19th is the celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation, and Tulsa’s history includes one of the worst race massacres in history in 1921. I also am having a difficult time imagining all the people already arriving in Tulsa expecting to stay in hotels and eating. Yes, the economy will receive a boost with sales. Yes, the protests will be significant, extensive, and maybe tumultuous, despite all efforts to be peaceful. Unfortunately, the biggest attender of this event will be Covid-19.

The Digital Poor People’s Campaign is also on Saturday, June 20th. This campaign is a movement of tens of of thousands of people across our nation who will be participating safely from their own homes. This campaign seeks to end the interlocking injustices of systemic racism, poverty, militarism and the war economy, ecological devastation, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. The Poor People’s Campaign needs our presence, our voice of advocacy, and our dollars to make a difference in our fragmented world.

I do not wish to tell you what to choose because both are important each in their own way. But I do wish to share that my family and I are participating in the Poor People’s Campaign. I am participating in this campaign because I want to stand with and advocate FOR our most vulnerable neighbors, the millions of poor and low-income people, with my presence and my dollars. These people are blessed, they matter to me and my family, and I believe our voices matter more in this movement.

We are certainly in a holy and historical season of uncertainty, deep grief, and hope. I continue to pray mightily for each and every one of you, your families, your church members, your community, our Region. As we rise strong to follow a call to action for justice, may God’s love, peace, and grace continue to surround us and speak through our voices.

Peace & God’s Grace,

P.S. If you would like to participate in the June 20 Digital Poor People’s Campaign, here is a link for more information. The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington

2020-06-18T09:29:29-05:00Jun 18, 2020|Clergy News, Pamela Holt Blog|Comments Off on Which Story Will You Choose?

A New Season: Pentecost!

Acts 2:1-2
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

Just imagine this scene with me for a moment.  We live in Oklahoma where if this storm were coming, David Payne would be entertaining us with warnings and the community sirens and our phones would be blaring!  We would take cover, either in a shelter or in our bathroom with helmets and pillows, and quite possibly, we would miss the miracle of Pentecost.  The miracle where God pours out the Spirit on “all flesh”.

Craig S. Keener notes that “God’s promise in Joel crossed barriers of age, gender, and free or slave status. . . . Peter changes Joel’s wording with respect to slaves:  now the Spirit is for all who are God’s servants.  This might remind us that all of us come to God as servants, on the same level. . . . Although Joel’s wording already crossed class barriers, the new wording virtually eliminates such classes. The world still evaluates us in socioeconomic terms, but Jesus’ followers must value and treat each other as siblings of equal dignity.”  (Craig Keener, Connections: Acts 2:1-21, Commentary 2:  Connecting the Reading with the World, p. 337)

Oklahoma storms are terrifying, and we must take shelter.  However, on this Sunday of Pentecost, perhaps we trust our God and be courageous enough to  linger from taking shelter so that we can be witnesses of this mighty miracle and all become transformed to be servants of the Lord: valuing and treating each other as siblings of equal dignity.

Speaking of courage and lingering . . .

All of you are doing a fantastic ministry worshiping on-line and connecting and caring for your flock in amazing and creative ways. Michael and I wander around the region each week to join you and celebrate the goodness of the Lord among you.

As statements are made and expectations are rising, I feel your anxiety and apprehension about returning to worship in the sanctuary.  While some communities in our region do not have high numbers of Covid-19 and feel comfortable gathering on Sunday mornings, many of our communities are struggling with “when” to re-gather for worship. The Region is still advocating for the numbers to be trending down for fourteen days before returning to in-person gathering for worship. It takes courage to linger, to go slow, to bring everyone one along on the journey. But I realize that may not be possible for your congregation to wait. It also takes courage to re-gather now. There is so much to do to make the space safe for  everyone.  And even then the risk is high. In these days of multiple vulnerabilities, I pray that you and your flock will continue in faith and hope and be courageous to discover new and profound ways to love and serve all people as Jesus does in a time such as this.

On this arduous journey, I also know you all are exhausted ~ exhausted from preparing words of faith, hope, and God’s steadfast love each week, from navigating the tech and wondering who is watching, and continuing to connect with parishioners in unprecedented ways. After Pentecost Sunday, I hope and pray that you will be courageous and take some days for rest and recreation.  You deserve it and need it.


In case you have not seen these statements, I offer them here for easy resourcing.

National Council of Churches Statement on Returning to Worship in Person

General Minister and President on re-opening congregations by Rev. Terri Hord Owens

Regional Ministers Offer a Word on Re-Opening Congregations

Digital Poor People’s Campaign

One last, but important item.  If you have ever wanted to take part in the Poor People’s Campaign but were not able to do so because of travel costs, or time away, here is your chance!  The Poor People’s Campaign will be a virtual assembly on Saturday, June 20, 2020.  I invite you to participate as you are able.

Poor People’s Campaign, a Digital Justice Gathering, on Saturday, June 20, 2020, which includes a link to the Digital Toolkit.


Gratefully, we are accompanied by a God who promises to be with us always, still speaking words of hope and healing, as we courageously continue to move toward wholeness.

Peace & God’s Grace,

Pamela Holt

“The prophetic tasks of the church are to tell the truth in a society that lives in illusion, grief in a society that practices denial, and express hope in a society that lives in despair.”  ~ Walter Brueggemann


Image credit:  Extreme weather on the high plains of Nebraska with this stunning LP supercell Mesocyclone, taken near Broken Bow, Nebraska, USA. Getty Images

2020-05-28T09:14:39-05:00May 28, 2020|Clergy News, Pamela Holt Blog|Comments Off on A New Season: Pentecost!

A Message from Rev. Pam Holt: Return to Worship or Still Safer at Home?

Return to Worship or Still Safer at Home?

Rev. Pam Holt, Regional Minister

We been practicing being “safer at home” for about six weeks now.  Like you, I lament that life has changed.  We cannot be with our family or our friends to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries in ways we are accustomed. We have cancelled weddings, graduations, and vacations.  We’ve cancelled many Regional and church events. We cannot even gather in person in our sanctuaries for worship or funerals. These days of safer at home are very hard, but I want to thank you for your part in loving your neighbor and yourself in staying home to stay safe and well.

I have been amazed at the wonderful worship services that are happening all around our denomination and our Region on-line, through live streaming. I am grateful for technology that allows us to be in worship together and share time around the Lord’s table through our devices.

In the past few days, we have learned that in Oklahoma, worship spaces can be opened for in-person gatherings beginning May 3rd. Please, please, don’t rush into returning to your sanctuary!

Following the guidelines and wisdom of the Centers for Disease Control and the Oklahoma Health Department, we know that the risks for in-person gatherings are still VERY HIGH.

The Region is strongly encouraging all of our congregations to continue to worship on-line until safe and responsible protocols can be put in place for each of our worshipping communities.

In preparation for some day returning to in-person worship, the Region hosted conversation with clergy this past week and has provided worksheets and initial questions for clergy and leadership teams to start making a plan, in writing, about safe practices to return to gathered worship.  These resources are provided on our website at under the COVID-19 Resources “Thinking About Returning to Worship?”

Please take your time to have discussions and put protocols in place and communicate expectations to the members BEFORE returning to in-person worships.

We are here to help.  Remember, go slow.  Take time to think and plan, together.  For your neighbor.  For your self.  For your pastor.

Stay well.  Stay safe.  Stay connected.  Stay hopeful.

May God’s blessing of peace and protection and God’s grace and mercy continue to be upon us all.

What Can We DO?

These days are more than difficult with continued multiple mass shootings. We can hardly even take a breath before we hear, read, experience another senseless shooting in a public setting. While we are not in the midst of the tragedies, almost every time we have family or friends who are among the victims, or are serving as first responders, or live in the community and wrestling with fear and deep grief.

Also, our hearts continue to be broken when we see and read about refugees and immigrants at the border and the deplorable conditions in which they are living, especially the children. Just this week in Mississippi, parents were detained and forced to leave their children behind.

On both issues, even from a distance, we are struck with deep grief and anger, and our first response is prayer. I have seen some beautiful prayers on social media. These prayers are true expressions of many emotions and implore God to hear and respond. But, we need to do more. We need to pray and also act.

Many of us are asking what can we DO in addition to our deep and abiding conversations with God. There are lots of things we can do, some of which many of us are already doing. Let me add some suggestions from two faith leaders, The Rev. Cameron Trimble, Founder & CEO of the Center for Progressive Renewal and author of Piloting Churches, and The Rev. Mary Heath, Minister at Edmond Trinity Christian Church and the chair of the new Commission on Refugee & Immigration Ministries in Oklahoma.  Our denomination’s Refugee and Immigration Ministries work of advocacy and education is also providing ways to help.

Rev. Cameron Trimble — In one of her weekly blogs, Rev. Trimble implores us to join the growing movement of activists and average citizens who are speaking out against bigotry, hatred, intolerance and xenophobia. To offer our support, we can do three things:

  1. Host conversations with our friends and neighbors about the values that define being an American. She offers several groups who have helpful resources:  The Weavers Movement, Civic Dinners, The Turquoise Table, Living Room Conversations. I invite you to connect to these websites to learn and maybe to implement one of these ideas. I already know of one congregation in Oklahoma who will be starting table conversations as worship.
  2. Connect with a Voter Registration organization in your area and help mobilize a ground game for getting people to the polls. I think church members could easily organize a team to visit those who are home bound to ensure their voice could be heard.
  3. Financially support activist organizations doing the critical work on the ground such as: The Poor People’s Campaign, New Sanctuary Movement, Faith in Public Life, Activist Theology Project.

Rev. Mary Heath — As you will see in the Regional Roundup article, Oklahoma Commission on Refugee and Immigrant Ministries Invites You to Join the Mission, The Rev. Mary Heath has a passion for helping us get organized to DO something to love and care for the refugee and immigrant children at the border of Texas. I am grateful for her leadership and hope you will read her article that calls us to urgent action.

Disciples Refugee and Immigration Ministries – The Rev. Sharon Stanley-Rea serves as the Director of this office, a part of Disciples Home Missions, and it also includes Tana Liu-Beers, an immigration attorney who works as a resource to our congregations, regions, and members.  The Oklahoma Region has joined other regions to support the costs of this urgent work.  This link to RIM WRAP 08/14/2019 will take you to five additional ways Disciples in Oklahoma can help refugee and immigrant families in Mississippi.

I know you are praying. I know you are writing your legislator. Maybe you are protesting. These suggestions above are some additional resources to keep us moving toward healing and wholeness in this broken and fragmented world. I am grateful for your deep and abiding faith, for your witness to the love of Jesus Christ, for your prayers, and for picking up a few pieces of action that reveal your willingness and generosity to serve in the name of Jesus.

Keeping the faith,

Pam Holt Signature

2019-08-15T10:18:26-05:00Aug 13, 2019|Pamela Holt Blog, Regional News|Comments Off on What Can We DO?

Pentecost Offering

Pentecost Offering supports new congregations! Also, thank you for praying for our brothers and sisters who are called to start new congregations by reaching out into the community with Christ’s love. Your gifts are helping 4 congregations in Oklahoma.

  1. OKC – Simplicity Church led by Israel Hogue, MDiv PTS student
  2. OKC – The Table @ The Paramount led by Cece Jones Davis and Jonathan Martin
  3. Tulsa – Seeking The Kingdom Ministries led by Mareo Johnson
  4. Lawton – American Samoan congregation seeking to affiliate with Disciples of Christ.
2019-06-11T09:48:57-05:00Jun 11, 2019|Pamela Holt Blog|Comments Off on Pentecost Offering

Lamenting With Our UMC Brothers & Sisters

Help us, O God, to prove to our disjointed world that You are in our midst.

Psalm 92.15 (Psalms Now)

Many years ago, a local United Methodist Church uptown was struggling with a conflict. They tried every way they knew how to correct the situation. After following UMC protocol, members still perplexed and dissatisfied with their minister, the District Superintendent, and Bishop, they walked out. Forty families, hurt and broken, frustrated and disappointed, walked out of their “church” not knowing where they would go or what they would do as a community of faith. At first they gathered in one member’s home, which worked for a few weeks. But as Sundays came and went, they missed being in their sacred space to worship. So, one Sunday morning these forty families walked into the local Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for worship. Imagine being the minister and looking out to see the pews full with quadrupled attendance. Imagine the people in the pews wondering why all these people were here.

These folks needed a safe place to worship. They needed a safe place to grieve. They needed some time to heal and discern what would be next for them. As worship moved along, some held hands with their pew mate and quietly wept. Some sang along with the hymns, some could not. All listened to the sermon that morning, and all shared in the Lord’s Supper that morning, clinging to every word uttered.

My colleague and I were very strategic and careful in our pastoral care in the days that followed. Should we call upon each family? And when? What questions would we ask? We decided to meet with a few key families to glean some understanding of the situation. And after a few weeks, we personally invited each family to a fellowship dinner for a meal and pastoral conversation knowing that these families were broken hearted and just needed sacred space to unpack what had happened and to discern their faith identity. They all had deep roots in their home church and many served in significant leadership roles. We were certain that once they had some distance from the situation, and allowed some time to get some perspective and heal, they would find their way back home or to another Methodist congregation.

Twenty years later, most of these folks are still with that Disciples congregation. However, they still remember their Methodist identity which is deep in their heart and soul.  With the decisions of the UMC General Conference, they once again remember the pain and sorrow from long ago and are again deeply grieving decisions of the church that originally shaped and formed their faith.

With this week’s tragic vote of the UMC General Conference to adhere to tradition, along with the added disciplinary action, our Methodist brothers and sisters across the nation and the world are experiencing trauma, are heartbroken, and are in need of safety, comfort, and care. My prayer for them, whether they are serving as ministers or lay people, is that they do not lose all hope, that the Spirit gently guides them into sacred space to cry out or quietly grieve their deep disappointment in their “church” which has betrayed them, and that they remember God’s grace and love will prevail. I pray that we, as Disciples, walk beside them in their deep grief and as they discern how they will continue to serve God as a follower of Jesus Christ.  I also pray that we Disciples are there for them with open arms when they are ready.

Picking up the Peaces,

2019-02-28T16:04:45-06:00Feb 28, 2019|Pamela Holt Blog|Comments Off on Lamenting With Our UMC Brothers & Sisters