In just a few short days I and 20 other folks will join Bishop Jung, District Superintendents Forrest Wells and Scott Carlson on a Biblical Study tour of Turkey. As you know, much of the growth of the Church took place in what is now Turkey. This opportunity will focus on the following objectives:
· To survey the historical, cultural, social and geographical settings of the New Testament and Christian origins in Turkey
· To explore the traditions of Paul, John and Mary in Turkey
· To become acquainted with the distinctiveness of Islam in modern Turkey and its role in the modern state.
· To explore Mysticism and other points of contact in Islam & Christianity
· To enjoy the romance and beauty of Anatolia and the Aegean coast of Turkey
· To develop personal spirituality & group spirituality
One of the highlights of this opportunity for me will be an introduction to models of mission and the ingredients of effective mission. The Church is called to be a Missionary Church, and as we look at our communities, we see that we are now living in a multicultural community. Our present condition is exactly the same environment that the Apostle Paul found on his travels through the region. I look forward to seeing how we might “do” mission in our own context.
I am excited to walk in the footsteps of Paul, Mary, and John. We will visit many of sites that are important to the early development of our faith. I am also looking forward to leaning more about the growth of the Orthodox Church that is rooted in Istanbul.
While I am away Pastors Wendee Nitz (Oak Creek Community UMC) and Kelly Fowler (Our Lord's UMC) will provide emergency pastoral coverage. Mark Dallner will preach on February 20th, and the Reverend Michelle Peters on February 27th.
I want to thank everyone who has worked to make this special trip a reality. Thank you also to everyone who has lifted me up in prayer during the last year of turmoil and crisis. I am truly blessed to serve in ministry alongside you all.
I’ll see you all on March 2nd for our Ash Wednesday service.