Letter from D.S.

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March 6, 2019

My Beloved RISEM Clay (Clergy & Laity),

Greetings to all the faithful people of the RISEM district!

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:3-7)

I purposely withheld from reaching out to each of you as I processed what took place in St. Louis, Missouri at the Special Session of General Conference. I am reminded of the song written by Gordon Light, “Draw the Circle Wide”. This song spoke to me, particularly this line: “Draw the circle wide, draw the circle wide. No one stands alone, we’ll stand side by side.”

I know many of my brothers and sisters in the Lord are hurting and feel the circle has actually not grown wider but has become more narrower. My heart aches for the church, however, I am encouraged by the words of Dr. Charles Albert Tindley, a song in our UM Hymnal #525 – “We’ll Understanding It Better By and By”.

1.            We are tossed and driven
on the restless sea of time;
somber skies and howling tempests
oft succeed a bright sunshine;
in that land of perfect day,
when the mists are rolled away,
we will understand it better by and by.
Refrain:
By and by, when the morning comes,
when the saints of God are gathered home,
we’ll tell the story how we’ve overcome,
for we’ll understand it better by and by.

2.            We are often destitute
of the things that life demands,
want of food and want of shelter,
thirsty hills and barren lands;
we are trusting in the Lord,
and according to God’s word,
we will understand it better by and by.
(Refrain)

3.            Trials dark on every hand,
and we cannot understand
all the ways of God would lead us
to that blessed promised land;
but he guides us with his eye,
and we’ll follow till we die,
for we’ll understand it better by and by.
(Refrain)

4.            Temptations, hidden snares
often take us unawares,
and our hearts are made to bleed
for a thoughtless word or deed;
and we wonder why the test
when we try to do our best,
but we’ll understand it better by and by.
(Refrain)

As we enter the Lenten Journey toward Easter and beyond, I encourage all of us to be the body of Christ, “Resurrected People”, as we covenant with one another to “Do No Harm, Do Good and Stay in Love with God.”

I remain His humble servant-leader,

Rev. Dr. Andrew L. Foster, III.
RISEM District Superintendent

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