This post (and many others floating around my head) is WAY overdue. Since the announcement in April that I have been appointed to Palos Heights United Methodist Church, people have had a lot of questions. So here is my attempt to answer many of those:
Where exactly is Palos Heights? How far away is it?Palos Heights, Illinois is about an hour and 45 minutes southeast of Rockford. It is a southwestern suburb of Chicago and close to Orland Park and Joliet (which people seem to recognize more J).
When do you start?The appointment officially starts July 1st.
Will you move houses or just commute?Our family will be moving to Palos Heights.
Have you found a house in Palos Heights?The church has a parsonage (a church owned home that the pastor and their family live in).
When do you move?We will move out of our current home on June 27th and move in our parsonage on June 28th. (Please pray packing mercies on the Barkleys!!)
What will you do with your home here, was that a parsonage too?Our current home is a home we purchased (I did have a housing reimbursement account that covered most of our house payment). We intended to sell our home and proceeded to try selling it on our own when, out of the blue, a family member found out they were going to need to rent a different home! We are praising God that this seems like a great solution for us and for them, at least for the time being.
What about your foster children, will they come with?We have 2 foster children in our home right now. Baby “Z” (though I really should stop calling him a baby now that he is 2…but he’s still my baby J) and Baby “K.” Z will be coming with us as we are awaiting the finalization of his adoption into our family (that will be a HUGE post when that happens!!). We will need to continue to meet with our social worker until that is finalized. We are hopeful this will not slow down the adoption process in any way (fyi adoption is S.L.O.W. and I understand it is a LOT of work BUT in the name of Jesus, someone needs to reform the process and the paperwork!!!!!!! Rant over.)
Baby “K” will not be moving with us L She is currently in the process of trying to be reunited with her biological parent(s) and she does have weekly visitation with one parent. She also has visits with her brother. Palos Heights is too far away to maintain those visits and not put any more added strain on K. It is looking like a family member will step up and care for her which was the original plan and hopefully, what will be the best for K. We ask for prayers for her, her family and ours as we say goodbye and transition to this new chapter without each other. We trust that God loves K even more that we do and will continue to protect her and heal her family.
What is Palos Heights UMC like? How many in worship?It is my understanding that Palos Heights UMC is compromised of many older adults and their families as well as a handful of younger generation families. There are children and youth actively participating in the life of the congregation. I was told there are around 80 in worship on Sunday. They worship at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday in their beautiful sanctuary.
Will you be the Senior Pastor?I will actually be a solo pastor or lead pastor. A Senior Pastor implies you have an Associate Pastor and at this time, Palos Heights does not have an Associate Pastor.
How does your children feel about the move? How about your husband?My kids are really excited about the move! We feel this is an adventure for our family and we look forward to meeting new friends and connecting with a new community. That said, now that our time in Rockford is drawing to a close and they have gone through their last days at school, the reality is setting in a little more. The truth is, we love our church family, our many friends and our family (who has always lived close to us). It will be hard to say goodbye and as we begin saying these goodbyes, our hearts hurt. We know God will soothe these wounds with the loving community that awaits us.
My husband, Craig, is also excited about the move. We love the outdoors and Palos Heights has so many outdoor places (forest preserves, bike paths, hiking paths, lake, etc.) for us to discover together.
What about Craig’s job? Will he need to find a new job?This has also been a complete blessing. My husband is the Director of IT for Physicians Immediate Care and has clinics all over the Chicago area as well as some work in Indiana. He usually is traveling to Chicago and driving back to Rockford. He will be able to retain his job, work out of one of the clinics close to our new home and hopefully do a little less traveling!
Why do they move pastors so often in the United Methodist Church? Didn’t you just get here?!!John Wesley, the founder of Methodism felt that the itineracy of pastors allowed for fresh theology and new life for pastors and congregations, as pastors move from one church to another. As painful as it can be to say goodbye, I believe Wesley had it right. As pastors (and as people), we all have different gifts and graces. In different seasons of church life, those gifts and graces can be used to help heal, inspire and grow congregations. Each pastor has their own interpretation of our United Methodist theological beliefs, their own unique stories, preaching, teaching and congregational care styles; we have a fresh set of eyes as the “newbie” to see things that those who have been there for awhile no longer see.
I was just recently with several pastors who are going to be changing churches in July. They all love their current churches, however, the excitement in the air was tangible! New places, new people, new possibilities can invigorate a pastor and it can be just the breath of fresh air congregations need not to get stagnant in their ministries but to live out the Gospel mandate to GO and make disciples.
I came to Christ UMC in October 2008 (while serving Bethany UMC in downtown Rockford). The appointment was unique to the circumstances of the church at the time and I’ve continued to see the church through many changes…many losses and many joys. It has been a BLESSING to be a pastor for the church that can take credit for making me who I am today.