Pastor John Elmore, Jr.
A Busy Summer
I cannot believe what I am seeing. The calendar is about to turn to July 2018! The first thing I thought was how did half of the summer break disappear so quickly. It seems like all the children just got out of school yesterday. So, yes we will turn around in a few short weeks and be planning for all the teachers and children to return to school. Let me encourage you to slow down and enjoy these days, as they are quickly moving on. We never get time back o be sure to make the best of each moment God blesses you with because December will be here before we know it.
The second thing I noticed was not just that July was my fourth year of ministry at St. Mark. This church, the congregation and the marvelous people that make up St. Mark have been a great blessing from God to me and my family. During these days we have served our Lord together, we have suffered loss, we have seen children born, worshipped together and seen many other parts of the journey of life, faith and ministry. Through all of these things my family and I have grown in our love and thankfulness for each of you. While I know these three years have not been perfect, I hope in spite of our imperfections we have grown on you as much as you have grown on us.
When we came to St. Mark we as a family were just following our call and trying to figure it all out as we went along. During the past two years I presented myself, with your support, to the Board of Ordained Ministry and have become a Licensed Local Pastor in the United Methodist Church just completing my first year under appointment. This was the first step in me moving toward becoming a Full Elder in the United Methodist Church. I was given a clear path through this process and that path has several educational steps for me, which I must complete before I take the next big step of presenting myself to see if I am prepared to become a Provisional Elder. In April I completed the first class of fourteen classes needed to complete this process. With the support of Steve, the SPRC, and our Church Council, I will be taking four classes this summer as part of the Advanced Court of Study program. I will be taking these classes at Duke Divinity School which means I'll be leaving after the services on July 1st and returning for worship on Sunday, July 29th. I really don't want to be gone for four weeks but I am excited about this opportunity and about my continued education and growth. I have been reading several books and preparing my pre-course work for the past few weeks. I am thankful for the support of our church leaders and the congregation as I strive to live out my calling to serve Christ.
I understand better today as Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12-14 (MSG) - "I'm not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don't get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I've got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward--to Jesus. I'm off and running, and I'm not turning back." I know I don't have all of this figured out but I am still trying to grow through this in my personal faith and learning how I can be a better minister today, tomorrow and ongoing. Thank you again for your support these past three years and thank you for your ongoing support and love as I move forward trying to become a better minister and co-laborer with you.