Greetings and Happy Easter from the Miller family.
We are truly humbled and extremely excited that God has called us to be a part of the Forest Park faith community, and we are looking forward to July when we can be with you full-time.
My husband and I very much enjoyed meeting and talking with the Staff Parish Committee in February. We look for-ward to meeting each and every one of you. As we have looked forward to coming to Forest Park, we have begun praying through the church directory, inviting the Lord to cover each family and person with his grace, peace and hope. We hope that when we arrive, each of you will have felt those blessings.
I come to you from an Associate Pastor position in Greensboro, North Carolina. At my current church, I direct the communication ministry and oversee the ministry to families and children. Prior to that, I was the Executive Di-rector of Student Services at John Wesley University and served as Chaplain of the university. I have also served as the pastor of UMC churches in Bluffton, Celina and Perry Township in Ohio. The Lima area stole my heart when I first started out in ministry, and I am thrilled to be coming back.
Alongside me in ministry is my husband Bryant. He will be taking a position as a high school Government teacher and football coach in the Bath School District this coming year. Together, we have four children—Max, 8; Mikah, 5; Malachi, 1; Maylee, 3 months. We believe that one of the gifts we bring to you is that of our family. We have always believed that our family, as a whole, is in ministry, and we tend to function that way. It has been a great blessing to watch our oldest children live into that reality for themselves.
As I look back over my ministries, there have been some clear passions that have risen to the surface, and which I also bring to Forest Park. The first is prayer. I don't believe any church will move with the leading of the Holy Spirit apart from fervent prayer. I believe wholeheartedly in creating space in the church building just for prayer as well as empowering the prayer warriors in the church to lead the way into ministry just like the priests led the nation of Israel toward the Promised Land.
Secondly, I have a heart for equipping families to disciple children and youth. I get really excited about new and creative ways to partner parents, grandparents and guardians with their children in growing toward Christ. Third, I believe every ministry is care ministry. Everything we do is about creating and building relationships with Christ and connecting peo-ple in community.
I absolutely cannot wait to hear about your passions and see what the Lord has done and will do in and through Forest Park. I hope you will share your testimonies with me as we get to know each other.
Until we meet in the coming days and months, I continue to pray for you and look forward with hope and excitement.
Pastor Kim Miller
By now, all of you have heard that I am appointed to a new church this summer. June 24 will be my last Sunday as your pastor. It breaks my heart to say that, however you have to admit that we have had quite a time these last 8 years. In some ways, I still feel like I just got here and in other ways I can't believe how long it has been. Either way, it has been an eventful 8 years and it has been an honor and a privilege to be your pastor during this stage in your lives.
Many of you who are reading this article were not here 8 years ago when I arrived. Forest Park, at that time, was in a difficult place. There was a lot of conflict and a lot of transition that needed to happen. Looking back, I can see that has been my role in the life of this church. I was go-ing to help you through some difficult transitions and the church was going to help me through some too. These 8 years have been hard on me because my job has been to guide you through rough waters of transition and instill your confidence. I am so glad that God was able to use me in this way to help Forest Park become what He wants you to be.
You read the article on the front page of this newsletter. It is from Pastor Kim Miller. She and her husband, Bryant, and Max, Mikah, Malachi and Maylee are going to come make your beautiful parsonage their home this coming July. In the United Methodist system, an annual meeting of the District Superintendents along with the Bishop decide which pastor goes to which church. That means I have been appointed to Forest Park 8 times. This time around, these women and men met together and decided that Kim needed to come to Forest Park. I agree with this decision. She is coming in with the right mix of gifts and graces to prepare Forest Park to take the next step in your growth. I have been praying about this for well over a year and I believe she is the pastor God has been preparing Forest Park for since 2005.
A lot has changed since that time, it has been 13 years of difficult transition. There were many wounds and much hard work, but by God's grace, this is where we are. There has been a lot of healing and visioning during this season. Now God has brought you the future. We are praying during this season that God will find willing workers and ripe fields here in Forest Park to move further into God's great plan.
The biggest concern I have heard is people are concerned that Kim won't be able to put in the hours that I put in during my tenure here. I can assure you, she will not. She has four children and a husband and her first responsibility is and always will be to them. She will be taking days off and she will use her vacation. 8 years ago when I arrived, I was asked to do a job that is no longer needed here at Forest Park. Please do not expect that job from her. Her calling here is going to be different from mine. She is going to miss events and she won't have the understanding of the facility and the congregation that I have, especially in the beginning. Please give her space and opportunity to grow, give her time to figure you out, and give her that chance to hear from the Lord on what it means to be the pastor of this great church.
My moving out and her moving in within a few days of each other feels sort of like replacing the dead gold fish with a new one. I feel a tremendous loss leaving this church. I have poured my heart and soul into this place for 8 years and now I am leaving everything that has been my life. So I clearly understand it when you tell me you are hurting over this move. That is why we are currently in a season of prayer together. We are going to trust the Good Lord knows what He is doing both for you good folks of Forest Park and for me.
We are going to have one last sermon series together Sundays until June 10. We are going to look at the Old Testament character of Joshua. His story is one of making a transition from Moses to him as leader of the Israelite people. We will look at themes and lessons taught in that story to move us through this time of transition. On June 17, I want to do something special. I am going to dig out the very first sermon I ever preached at Forest Park and preach it again. It has been 8 years, but it will give you a chance to evaluate how well we have done during this time. Then we will have one final Sunday together on June 24 as we kick off VBS together.
I will say this many times between now and the end of June, but I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be a part of your church family these last 8 years. We have weathered good times and bad, but in all things, I believe I have grown through every experience. My prayers are now for Pastor Kim and her family as they are preparing to uproot their lives to come here to Lima. I pray that their welcome is both warm and sustained for years to come.