Last day at FUMC Berthoud

It was a beautiful morning at church today. On the way I almost started to cry and thought, if I start now I may never stop. So, instead I just teared up from time to time. When others cried I cried. It was a great day to worship God. You can see the sermon on Erik’s Facebook page.

Also, it was great to have people share about Annual Conference. This weekend was filled with moments of hope and promise as I officiated a wedding, blessed for healing and a special send off. My heart is full and I am grateful to have shared these holy moments with people at church, our little family, and the Holy Spirit.

Shalom to you now, Shalom to you.

Thanks God,

For our church, for the past seven years, and for what is to come.

Amen.

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Right now we are sitting in the back yard of our new house. We moved on the 15th of May, and slowly arranged most everything in the house. Then there was a beautiful season of Celtic School of Theology, Baccalaureate, and a little bit of running before Annual Conference and the Mission Trip.

It has been seven years serving in Berthoud. I have learned so much. We went to Israel, and waited for our family to begin. We had Zac and learned about parenting first hand. We had a huge flood in the area and helped with recovery. We did some other pilgrimages to Mother Cabrini Shrine, the San Luis Valley, the Dead Sea Scrolls. We went to Ireland and I had some seasons of leave.

I became a coach and practiced with all sorts of situations and people all over the world. We laughed together and cried together. Some of the sermons really touched people and some just didn’t. We tried things that worked and some that didn’t.

As I leave, gratitude wells up in me. I see faces of loved ones and feel so glad to have known every person. The blessings out weigh the bruises. The joys help heal the hurts. The memories and thankfulness I have propel me into the future with hope.

Hope that it will happen again. I will make friends and we will learn together. Maybe we will even help each other grow in discipleship once in a while. We will challenge and share and grow in grace.

Looking forward into the unknown I am excited to see what God is up to in Lafayette, Co. I will listen and learn what God is already doing. Together we will grow in our faith, find new friends to reach and transform into the church we will be together.

And so, this in-between continues for a few more days.

God, as I say goodbye to people, give me the right words. As I say hello, give me listening ears. As we learn together about transitions please bless our time. Give us all we need in order to bless. Thank you for all you are doing in our lives. You are amazing.

Amen.

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Annual Conference 2018

Tomorrow, we embark on a long journey to get to church.  We will be going as a family.  Soon we will know about the future of our Annual Conference.  Although there is much to think about over the next several days, the fellowship helps the time pass well.

May our choices be in line with God’s invitations and may our worship be a wonderful offering to  the Reminder of Mystery.

Blessings for safe travel to all who make this journey!

 

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Baptism

Family has a lot to do with the traditions of Baptism.  Sure, it is first and foremost an initiation into the church, a body of believers, grounded in God, celebrating faith in Christ, and open to the Spirit.  But how and when Baptism is done has a lot to do with family.

Great Grandpa Dave was raised in a long line of Methodists, going all the way back to England.  Grandpa Steve carried on this tradition in his family.  So, naturally, I was baptized into the United Methodist church, but not until I was old enough to chose for myself.  Why a believer’s baptism?

Great Great Grandma Irene believed in the baptism of the Holy Spirit alone.  She shared her belief with Grandma Debbie, who chose to let her children make up their own minds about baptism when they were old enough to decide.  So I did, in eighth grade when I was in confirmation class at Sunrise United Methodist Church in Colorado Springs. I chose to be initiated into faith.  I wore a beautiful home made teal taffeta dress with puffed sleeves.  Ed Beck and Brenda Lear administered the sacrament and God filled my life in a deep and tangible way.

So, you ask, how do you come to baptize baby Zac?  Family traditions blend one side and another.  Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Poetter are and have been life long Lutherans.  In their tradition, babies are baptized early-as soon as possible.  So, Grandma Janet was baptized as a baby into the Lutheran church and confirmed at the appropriate age.  She and Grandpa Jack continued the tradition and Erik, papa of Zac, was baptized as an infant in a beautiful cotton baptismal gown.

Great Grandma and Great Grandpa Hyatt Hagan were also Methodist.  Naturally, Grandpa Jack was raised a Methodist and is fully supportive of Zac becoming one too.  All these family traditions, these lines of connection to God lead us to a specific moment, method, and means of grace.  Uncle Andy will be here too.  He was baptized (Lutheran, like Erik) into this same line of faith. He is godparent to Zac, along with Uncle Jason and Uncle Nelson.

Today Zacariah Hyatt Hagan will be initiated into the Christian faith, with all these witnesses before him. He will be wearing the gown Erik wore during his baptism, thirty four years ago in the Lutheran church of his family.  Zac will be baptized by Grandpa Steve, a United Methodist pastor in a United Methodist fashion.  All this action will take place in the church and community God has called me to serve, First United Methodist Church of Berthoud.

I’m overflowing with love for God, for Zac, and for our families who weave together the best traditions, faith, and a long line of discipleship.

Holy and Loving God, Thank you for this day in which family brings together Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience.  Bless our little Zachariah and help us to raise him in a Christian home.  Thank you for preserving us like the baptismal gown. We are so blessed to be part of this long line of witnesses.  Bless the community of Berthoud that it may continue to be a place of faith for many generations to come.  Help us to be grounded in God, celebrate Christ and open to the Spirit.  We say yes on Zac’s behalf to you working in his life.  May he grow in wisdom and stature into a great person of faith!  Amen.

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Six weeks old, already?

The last time I wrote we were waiting for our little guy to emerge, amazing to think it was sunny and warm then.  Today as the ground is covered in snow I am listening to his cry and taking this moment to reflect.  Well, these days moments don’t last long between feedings, diaper changes, and putting him back to sleep.  We are happy Zac is growing well.  He was born at 6lbs 11 oz, but he has already grown to 8lbs 5 oz.  He is awake, so I better go try to discern his cries.  I am guessing he wants to eat some more!

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“Thanks God, for this precious kiddo. amen”.

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Its a Boy!

Getting ready for a little one has added lots of things to my plate. I have been planning and preparing for the baby’s arrival for months. Before we were ever ready to tell anyone we were expecting our lives started to change. We did things like switch to drinking organic milk and began the routine of taking daily prenatal vitamins. We adjusted in little ways at first, going to the doctor only once every eight weeks or so, and finding new clothes when necessary. When we were sure that all was going well and the little baby was growing, we started to share. First we shared with our family, then we branched out to our friends, and soon everyone at Church and school were in on the big news. When it came time to find out what the gender would be we wanted to know. It really didn’t matter to us if it would be a boy or a girl, we knew we would love this child a lot. Friends have waited to find out until the birth day and we respect this choice, but as you all know, we like to plan ahead, and I can be pretty impatient. So, we went to the ultra sound wondering who we would meet, would it be a boy or a girl. The tech asked, do you want to find out the sex of the baby and we said together, “yes.” It only took a little while before we could tell it was a boy growing inside me. As soon as we knew it was a boy, we knew his name would be Zac. We were so excited to find out who we would be preparing our home to receive. After we found out it was a boy, we stopped at “B” Sweet Cupcakes to let Dana know the filling for our reveal cupcakes would be blue. It was so fun to see the expressions on peoples faces when they found out at church we would be having a boy. It was also great fun to see people sharing what their opinions had been on who they thought was going to be coming into our family. It really wasn’t that long ago that we found out, but everything we have done since that time has been able to include the thought of Zachariah in our plans. There is only one month left until the due date now. We have totally enjoyed the preparations. Erik stained and put together the cradle during his summer break. We were showered with gifts from our friends in Canon City, Rye, and my clergy women friends to help get our nursery ready. We have a crib and changing table all set up. Erik also assembled the stroller and unpacked the car seat, so we can actually leave the hospital when it comes time to bring Zac home. We are looking forward to our future showers with joy and anticipation. We are so blessed and know that Zac will enter into a family of love that reaches way beyond what he will be able to comprehend for quite a while. Usually this blog takes on a church type characteristic, but for the next few months it will be the poetic thoughts on motherhood and what God is doing through this new phase of life. I hope you will enjoy my entries on what is happening in our family life and how God is at work in our little corner of the world. These days our prayers are filled with hope for health and lots of expectation. With one month to go, give or take a little, the new phase of life seems a lot closer than it did before we started telling anyone, or sharing the news, “its a boy.” We are in the last part of the pregnancy, but the first part of a window into a new life. So during this important transition time, here is my prayer…

God of wonder and grace, We wait expectantly for our little Zac to emerge. Please help us to do the right things to prepare. Guide us as we enter this phase of parenthood. Thank you for the blessing of new life. We see you in every aspect of our growing family. For all those who are disrupted by strife and challenge, bless them with your peace. For those who have hardship, let them know your presence. As our lives are disrupted by this joy, teach us patience. Help us be fully present to Zac and his needs. Thank you for the wisdom and blessings you have shared through your people. We are grateful for the gift of our son and Yours. Amen.

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Getting ready for Vacation Bible School

Next week we will host a bunch of kids in our “Everywhere Fun Fair.”  The adventure begins Monday morning with assembly and music, and it will all be great.  We need to be inviting as many kids as we can.  So far, only 8 are registered.  I am sure it will change and by next week we may have more kids than we have supplies for, but we may only have twelve too.  You never know what to expect.  What we can expect is for God to show through the crafts and the games, the smiles of the willing servants and the children.  We can expect great things.  Already we have seen God working in supplies!

We asked for some things from other churches and we got more than we asked for.  Decorations and shirts, videos and name tags.  We are so blessed to be part of a connectional system.  The United Methodist Church sure knows how to unite on things like Vacation Bible School.  We know how to share our resources and grow the faith of kids in our own communities and when we have stretched our resources as far as we thought they would go, we reach further by sharing the extras with other churches.

One of the best examples of this gift is the “No More Malaria” gift we received from Calhan and Rush.  These are two smaller churches of our conference, but they were willing to share what they had to offer.  They had enough bracelets for whomever shows up, we will be able to continue to spread the news about our neighbors in Africa who live with and die from Malaria so often.  All this because of our neighbors in Colorado.  God’s connections are some of the best resources we have to continue to minister to those right in front of us.

So, please pray with me for the servants, the children, and that God will find new ways to show off this week.

God of brightly colored shirts and fun songs, teach us again.  Lead us through this busy week with scripture, music, friendship and faith.  Sustain us with snacks and smiles.  We embrace the love you have taught us, help us share that same love with our neighbors.  Extend our boundaries and surprise us with your joy.  We pray for your Spirit to be felt in our church and our community this week.  Let us be faithful disciples of Christ as we experience life together for two and a half hours each day.  We praise you for all you are already at work to prepare, and all you are going to do! 

 

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