Pastor Jeremiah Thompson
at Malta United Methodist Church (7/1/2019)
Hello, I would like to introduce myself, my name is Rev. Jeremiah Thompson, I am honored to be your new pastor. Feel free to just call me Jeremiah or Pastor, which ever you prefer. Within a week and a few days I and my family will be completing our move to Malta, and moving into the parsonage here. We are very excited. Let me introduce the rest of our family as well. My spouse is Rev. Megan Thompson, she is also an elder in the United Methodist Church, and she is the pastor of Steward and Creston UMCs, I believe some of you know her already. We have two children, Abiella is 8 and will be going into the 3rd grade at the Malta School, she’s excited to start meeting people, and perhaps joining girl scouts and 4-H. Our son Owen is 4 (and a half as he’d be sure to say to you), he will be starting kindergarten in the fall, he’s looking forward to living in a house with stairs (something neither of our children have ever had before.) Finally, I suppose I should mention our dog Theadora, Thea for short, she’s active, loves, loves, loves people, and will bark a lot if you come to the door. This move is a great blessing for our family, Megan and I will now both be able to be home every night, since our churches will be so much closer together, and this will be wonderful for us and for our children!
Beyond family life, I want to share a few other things about myself. I was born in Springfield, IL, my dad (Herb) is a retried United Methodist pastor, and my mother Suzanne is a retired teacher, they live in Kankakee, IL. I grew up in several United Methodist Churches around Illinois. I graduated from Kankakee HS, then studied at the U. of Illinois in Urbana, with a degree in History and Religious Studies. I then took a masters of Social Science with a history emphasis from the University of Chicago. I then did two years as a domestic social justice missionary with the United Methodist Church, one year in Everett, WA, and a bit more than a year in Winfield, KS. In all these I had felt a call to ministry which I finally answered, while in mission service.
I met Megan in Seminary at Boston University. I graduated and returned to Illinois in 2007, and we married in 2008 the year of her graduation. I served 6 years as an associate pastor in Mahomet, IL, 4 years as pastor of the Famer City and Weedman UMCs. Then we were allowed to seek appointment in this conference so at to be closer to our parents, and sisters (as Megan’s family all lives in Southern Wisconsin, and my sister is in Chicago with her spouse.) I served two years at Wesley UMC in Sterling, but the distance between our appointments proved difficult with young children so when Malta came open we rejoiced at being offered this appointment and to be able to serve closer together.
I bring a deep passion for bible study, preaching, missions, and social justice with me. I look forward to making calls, and getting to know you all at church, or over coffee at Martha’s. Relationship is such a part of living as Jesus teaches, and healthy loving relationships are what make a strong and healthy congregation. I bring a variety of experiences and passions in ministry among them camping ministry, youth ministry, hospital chaplaincy, and mission trips.
I know we are all in a time of transition as Malta and Malta NW UMCs merge into one congregation, and as you get a new pastor. I am excited for what the future holds. I ask you all to be in prayer for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we together seek to grow in faith, invite people into relationship with God, and seek to serve and bless our community and world. Please if you’d like to talk give a call at 815-592-3764, or email me at email@example.com, or look me up on Facebook and send me a message. I am eager to talk to as much of the congregation as possible, and hear from you what you believe God is calling us towards as a congregation.
May God bless you, and I look forward to meeting you and being in ministry together!
Pastor Jeremiah Thompson
OCTOBER 2019 MESSAGE
As I write this I am in a hotel in Overland Park, KS, at the Leadership Institute, a huge gathering of more than 2500 United Methodists from all over the world. I’ve had a great day of seeing old friends, hearing amazing presentations, and most of all learning and growing. My morning workshop was about helping to be a leader in times of transition in a church. As your new pastor of a congregation that has recently seen a merger of two congregations and has welcomed some siblings in Christ from a church that closed, we are certainly a church in transition. So, this morning’s workshop really spoke to me and gave me lots of ideas.
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I want to talk about one of those ideas. Any times there is a transition of any sort there is loss. Something that was past must be given up and some of those can even be good or at least comfortable things. When Megan and I welcomed Abiella and Owen into our lives, we got a lot less uninterrupted sleep than we’d had before. Now I like sleep, but I wouldn’t trade a bit more sleep for our children ever. Yes, I lost something, but in the end the new place God was taking our family as parents was so much better.
I bring up this idea of losing something because in the months ahead there will be transition and loss. When we get done fixing the roof over the front entrance, we will have to pay the contractor, for instance. I think most of us agree that fixing a leaky roof is worth spending some of the money of the church, but it is a loss. However there may be other transitions where the benefit might not, at first, seem so clear.
In the months ahead we will have several small group studies. Now to participate in these will require a person to give up some time (likely an hour or so a week.) It’s also possible that in the reading and bible study as part of these short studies a person might be presented with a new idea, and any time we are processing new ideas can be a time of uncertainty as we learn something new about God and maybe ourselves. However, I believe the blessing to us as a congregation and as individuals to be part of small groups, far out ways the cost. In small groups we can learn so much from each other, we can build community sometimes and make new friends. In small groups we can encourage each other to grow in our faith, or to help others. In small groups sometimes we find inspiration from God to do new things in the church that will bless people in our church and wider community.
So, I want to invite you all to sign up for one of our studies. There will be two starting in October, one three weeks, and one 6 weeks. If those don’t work for you, which given the harvest season may be a reality for many of you. We will have further small group studies for Advent in December, and then another study during Lent in March and April. In particular if you’ve never been part of a small group, or haven’t for a long time, I invite you to sign up and join us. (If you need childcare to make that happen I will do all I can on that front.) I hope you will accept this invitation as we all can grow in faith, friendship, and be inspired to share God’s love.
What’s a Hub Cluster???
I find that every job or organization has its own lingo, you know words in that group that everyone in the group knows what it means, but to someone outside the group it doesn’t make sense. Think about all the abbreviations that you use or used at your job that you would have had to explain to someone else, and you will see what I mean.
Well the United Methodist Church (UMC) has lots of lingo, and one of those words is a cluster. Clusters are groups of congregations in an area that work together in ministry to strengthen each other. In particular, a cluster can work together on things like mission trips and other ways of helping people, and they can do more together than any smaller congregation could do alone.
Our congregation has been invited into and joined the “Hub Cluster” a cluster of 9 churches in and around Rochelle. We are fortunate as this is probably the most active and productive cluster in our conference. So once a month I and a lay representative are invited to attend the cluster meeting to share what we are doing, invite others to our events (like the Roast Beef Dinner for instance), and also to help the cluster plan ways that we churches together can work to help more people meet their spiritual and material needs.
So if you would like to be part of this work, we need a lay person to be our representative, if you’d like to work with others churches to the benefit of us all and most of all of the work of Jesus Christ, please let me know. I hope someone will feel called to this ministry from our congregation.