Pastor’s Blog May 2021

May 8, 2021 by

For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my
hope is from him. He alone is my rock and my
salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On
God rests my deliverance and my honor; my mighty
rock, my refuge is in God.Trust in him at all times,
O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a
refuge for us.” Psalm 62:5-8

I am really feeling for you, the faithful folk of Benn’s Church; you are experiencing so many stressors and changes. All our lives have changed
significantly in the past year. I do not need to name them all; you know. Yet, you have carried on, working together to find new ways to worship and
do mission in a pandemic’s midst; learning new technologies; writing Healthy Church Team plans to match the VA Conference’s plan (the TAM);
continuing to support one another in good times and hard ones; and successfully holding two chick-a-ques in the process! I feel for you; and I am also inspired by you. You know the truth of the above quoted Psalm; and you live out your faith in each other’s presence.

I am grateful to you for your cooperation with the Healthy Church Team and me as we have written eight plans (and counting) to help keep us safe
while being in-person for worship and meetings, when we could. We are not yet out of the woods, but we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
Please continue to hang in there for a while longer. But some good changes are on the way. As you know, the conference has determined it is now safe
for those at church who are fully vaccinated and are two weeks beyond their final dose to sing softly during worship hymns. What’s more is, the
conference says that,

During the month of June, churches will be invited
to celebrate the work of the HCTs and bring them to a close while transitioning to local church PostCOVID Re-entry Groups” (PRGs). “Major
decision-making on COVID-mitigation methods will revert to local churches as of July 1, with district superintendents providing a review of plans.” That
is, the D.S. will no longer have to approve plans, only review them. “A new, greatly-reduced document will succeed the current TAM to guide
local churches as they develop their plans.”

This last part is also great news to your HCT, which has just finished going through five revisions of the
much longer TAM in order to update our own plan for Benn’s, as we return this week to our regular two services. I cannot thank our HCT, chaired first
by Nancy Williams, and now by Debbie Anderson, enough for its extraordinary commitment and hard work!

And now, you are experiencing yet another transition. As you know, I have discerned that it is time for me to step back from full-time ministry. I will be retiring as of June 30th, and the Rev. Ileana Rosario will be your new pastor. I know you will welcome her warmly, as you did me four years ago. I will be returning to my home state of North Carolina, where I have a lot of family. And though I will remain a member of the VA Conference, I am grateful for receiving a new opportunity in retirement. The Western NC Conference has announced that I am projected to be appointed as the part-time Associate Pastor of Long’s Chapel UMC in Waynesville, NC, near Lake Junaluska. I understand that I will be overseeing congregational care.

My new address will be: 346 Palisades Lane, Apt.
206, Waynesville, NC 28786. My permanent email address will be betsycaudill@vaumc.org.

Meanwhile, I look forward to being with you as much as I can in the next two months. As we talk or gather, I hope to celebrate with you our ministry
together and also have opportunities to say goodbye. Meanwhile, let us always remember, God is with us, to guide, help, keep, and empower us. So,
keep on shining!

Grace and peace,
Betsy Caudill

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