Let us Praise God for the past 110 years & next 110 years to come!
Rev. Sunyoung Park, Site Pastor at Grace United Methodist Church
It is such an honor for me to join you in praise and celebration of God’s faithfulness for the past 110 years of ministry of Grace United Methodist Church. As a site pastor of Grace UMC, it has been only 2 months and a half since I joined you in our shared adventurous and exciting faith journey. Regardless of a short time spent with you, I feel God has already shared with me His great love and vision for Grace UMC. While we remember and commemorate God’s blessing for us over the past 110 years, we also want to dare dream big and to fill our hearts with wild imagination of even greater blessings that God has stored for us for the next 110 years. How do we tap into a big dream that God has for us? How do we claim God’s greater blessings as our own? What do we need to do? I think the answer is already around and among us. And I strongly believe that God has already equipped us with resources, gifts and grace that need for God’s dream to be actualized through us.
In looking around the neighborhood of Grace United Methodist Church, it seems that we have majority of our neighbors being transient, either as apartment dwellers or UCR students who are staying here for a reason and leaving once they achieve their goals. This may cause us to hesitate to invest our energy and resources in them because we might not be the ones who will get benefit of our investment. The truth of it is, though, that it is not “we” who sees the fruit of our labor of ministry but “God,” who has chosen Grace UMC as His instrument to nurture His people receives a glory. Offering all the benefits and fruits of our energy, labor and investment of ministry to God is our mission and that is the reason of our existence. When we do not get sidetracked from this mission of ours, God will take care of everything, our finance, worship attendance and resources of Grace UMC. How so? Because Grace UMS is God’s and He is the Living Provider of His own people!
This past Sunday, 12 young adults of Box Springs Parish had a dinner get-together at my place. We enjoyed food, games, and laughter. Then we were assigned to have a secret prayer partner, for whom we were going to pray for a month until we meet again next month. While I was hosting this get-together, my heart was full with joys of seeing them to get connected with each other. My heart became full because I saw each of those young individuals had so much potential and we as a church had many possibilities to support their potential to flourish for God’s glory. As I saw the possibilities of church to closely journey alongside those young adults, though, I remember they will one day leave for their jobs or for their next chapter of life. When we invest so much of our energy into the lives of young adults or any individuals or families, we might be disappointed about them not staying with us anymore. But, the ultimate purpose of mission and ministry of nurturing faith in them and/or any individuals is to eventually send them out to the world, not to keep them inside of the church.
When we strive to be faithful to our mission as God has been so faithful to us, God’s great blessings are already upon us. May these blessings be Grace UMC’s for next 110 years and beyond!