A Pastoral Letter to First United Methodist Church of Oak Park

Greetings in the name of our risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

I am delighted to greet you on the eve of my officially becoming your pastor! It seems like a long time ago the announcement came that I would be coming to journey with you in ministry in Oak Park and now, here we are. I am looking forward to getting to know you in the coming days and even more, I am looking forward to what God has in store for all of us, from the youngest to the most “seasoned” members of the flock and to how God will work in and through all of us to make fully devoted followers of Jesus. I hope you are as excited and enthusiastic as I am!

This Sunday will be my first Sunday with you for worship and a much- anticipated opportunity to put faces with the names I have been praying about on our membership roster. The pandemic has changed the way many of us worship and, especially at its height, for good cause. Our first goal as articulated by our bishops then and even now is to “do no harm.” Having taken a tour of the building today, I am totally impressed with how well FUMCOP Trustees and the Return Team have undertaken the charge of making the experience of anyone entering the building as safe as possible according to the CDC protocols they have put in place. Thus, I hope that if you are able, you will plan to join us in person this Sunday and the Sundays to come for there is indeed something special about worshiping together in a common place. Having said that, however, I recognize that not everyone will be able to attend for various reasons. I am grateful for those who have assumed responsibility for seeing that the worship experiences are available online after the in-person gathering to be able to share with those who can’t be with us live.

If you haven’t already, please begin praying for God to bless our time together, not only this Sunday, but in general as a new season of ministry is about to unfold for the church, the community, and for all of us as individuals. I trust whole heartedly what was told to the prophet Jeremiah, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11) As a congregation, may we live as though we believe that —with eyes wide-open to see where God is already at work in our midst creating a pathway to those plans for a bright future filled with hope.

Until we are together, God bless you and keep you. God’s face is already shining upon you. With the love of Christ and getting ready for the adventure,

Your new pastor,

Rev. Adonna Reid

P.S. Included here is a video summary of some highlights of my time at South Shore UMC. It was prepared originally for the membership there, but I am offering it here that you might get a glimpse into my heart for ministry.