Dear South East District Friends,
Greetings in the waning days of summer. I trust each of you has had the opportunity to rest and relax a bit this summer.
In June, I was able to visit and tour the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home for the very first time. Although I have served churches that have supported the Children’s Home and have intended to make this visit many times, this year the opportunity finally became a reality.
The strongest impetus for the visit came from our 11 year old. She has long wanted to visit the Children’s Home after hearing about its ministries and buying school supplies for the students over the years. When we arrived on a Saturday morning we were welcomed by the Rev. Ryan Frack, Director of Church Relations. Ryan proceeded to take us on a tour of the facility, including the chapel. The chapel at the Children’s Home is a place that truly represents its “congregation.” The chapel looks like a place where children worship! It is colorful and displays artwork and decoration that have clearly been done by children and teens. Ryan showed us a beautiful mosaic cross that had been delicately crafted over time by the Rev. Madeline Luzinski, Director of Pastoral Care. She carefully allowed the children to see how broken pieces of colorful ceramic were put together to form a beautiful cross. And so it is with us, God turns broken people into something beautiful.
We were also able to visit Lang Cottage. This cottage houses five young girls about the age of our daughter and a pair of wonderful house parents. They welcomed us and gave us a tour. Each girl proudly showed us her room. Mariana quickly became pals with these young women and since our tour she has faithfully corresponded with “the girls at Lang Cottage” as a pen pal.
Many of you are much more familiar with the Children’s Home than I am. For any who are not, I encourage you to learn more and to plan for a visit. I would also ask each of us to consider these two questions that stem from my learnings that day: Does your church’s sanctuary reflect the tastes of the constituency to whom you are seeking to minister? Does your church boldly proclaim a gospel that celebrates broken pieces being made whole through the cross of Jesus? Will you join me in reflecting on these two questions?
Grace and peace,