An Update From your Pastor's Desk - 07.24.2020

An Update From your Pastor's Desk - 07.24.2020

Hello there,

Greetings to you and your family. We hope that you are staying well and healthy. This email update includes important information of what's going on at Oberlin UMC. If you have any questions please feel free to contract us.


CHANGE??  Me?  Why??  Why me, Lord?

“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I’m changing the things I cannot accept.”

You may recognize the widely loved Serenity Prayer. In case you’re not familiar with that prayer, I’ll repeat it here:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

Fred Shapiro made the front page of the New York Times by arguing that, contrary to what many people assume, the renowned theologian Reinhold Niebuhr did not pen this prayer. Later, however, he uncovered convincing evidence that in fact Niebuhr was its original author.

Naming what is unacceptable — and taking steps to change it — is what it means to take up our cross and follow Jesus. It’s at the core of compassion. And compassion takes courage.

There is a link between the words compassion and compass. You may remember using a compass in geometry (in contrast to the navigational tool you use for a hike) to draw arcs and circles.

A compass … is used to determine the relationship between two points. The related word compassion is about honoring the relationships between two people or between one group and another and remembering those who suffer. It is about making the connection between the heart of my being and the heart of yours.

Think about the component parts of the word compassion: com- (with) and -passion (suffer). To suffer with. The Apostle Paul says that we share in the risen life of Jesus “if we suffer with him.” (Romans 8:17) If we join him in solidarity with the suffering of the world.

Christlike compassion is not pity, a mere recognition of someone else’s bad fortune. It is a heart-to-heart connection. A recognition that my neighbor’s hunger, deprivation or oppression are my own as well. That my freedom and happiness cannot be separated from theirs.

Racism, sexism and poverty betray God’s dream for humanity, they are unacceptable. We can begin to change this world — to move it toward freedom, equality and dignity for all God’s children — when we recognize intellectually and experience viscerally that our own life is marred and diminished by these injustices.

Can we begin honest, vulnerable conversations with people who are not like us and hear things about this world—and about the role WE play in their lives — that only they can tell me?

It turns out, we can’t really change the deeply unacceptable things about this world without also changing ourselves. We need to admit that change like this is not just hard, it feels downright harrowing at times. It takes courage.

Where do we find that courage?  We don’t change so that God will love us. Might we choose such change because we realize that God already loves us? Just like God loves everybody else.

Please be in Prayer for

Holden Streit (great nephew of Chris Hackney); All residents and staff of Good Samaritan Society – Decatur County; all patients and staff of Decatur Health; our schools, teachers, administration, staff and school board members;  our County, City, State and National leaders; Bob Lund; Janell Shorman; Michael Shorman; Melvin Smalberger; Darlene Agan; Cheryl Metcalf; Lowell Moxter; Michael, Kayla, Carter and Addie Pettibone; and our world.

Fresh Produce Boxes

Fresh boxes will be offered again on July 17, July 31, August 14 and August 28.  The boxes will be available at the Oberlin United Methodist Church parking lot, 102 North Cass beginning at 10:00 AM.  There are no income guidelines and the boxes will be handed out on a first come basis.  In order to supply food to more families, we will limit one box per family.

On delivery days, we ask that you to stay in your vehicle.  The produce will be put in your vehicle.  We will be there to help you line up.

Thank you to local, regional and state partners for making this possible.  A special thank you to Thomas County Health Department and the Colby United Methodist Church for working with us to be able to make fresh produce available to residents of Oberlin.

Worship Online

We have been streaming online and working out the issues we have been facing to make worship more enjoyable online. We ask that if you do not feel comfortable in crowds, or feel ill that you join us online. You can join us online by going to or going to our website ( and click on Watch Online.

Please take care of yourself and each other,

Pastor Gordon