Plymouth Park UMC Staff Blog

Spring has Sprung

April 12, 2017

Pastor Bill La BarrIt’s spring! The calendar says so, and so does the weather outside. As a “farm kid,” I’m accustomed to all the conventional wisdom about the weather. I take most of those old sayings “with a grain of salt” (another old saying!), but when March “comes in like a lamb” it does seem to “go out like a lion.” We entered March pretty lamb-like. The storms this week have been anything but.

I have been amazed at how early spring came this year, in the sense of the wildflowers. The bluebonnets, Indian paintbrush, and buttercups along the George Bush are in full glory. They are beautiful! And as I write this tome, it’s still just March! Normally they attain this level of beauty around mid-April. They are much earlier this year.

Additionally, my dear friend the late Fayette Ellis told me that his pool officially opens on March 15, 2017. That’s when it was warm enough to swim. I’ve been in my pool all month (didn’t stay in long!). Now, the water temperature is cool but completely tolerable. And, as I said, it’s still March! So the transition from winter to spring has come early this year.

We are in a season of transition in our church, too.

Rev. Sara has retired and has moved to Houston to live near her twin sister. We have not replaced her with another ordained associate. Rusty and I will be the ordained clergy in the church. What we have done is move Audrua over to director of adult ministry and have hired Katrina Culberson as our new director of youth ministry.

Katrina comes to us from First UMC Rockwall, where she worked for Rev. Dr. Joe Pool, whom I have known for years. Joe gave me an outstanding recommendation for Katrina, so I think we’ve accumulated another really good staff member.

The move to replace Sara with Audrua has a deeper reasoning behind it.

Those of you who were here when I arrived in June 2005 remember that I confessed to the church “if we looked like me in 10 years (pasty-faced, old white guy), we would be in trouble.” I said that we needed to reach out to the community which surrounds us and to diversify ourselves ethnically. We have done that. Our congregation is a wonderful mix of ethnic heritage. We’re not where we want to be, but we have made and are making progress.

Audrua’s new position is a move to reach out to a younger demographic. Her job, simply stated, is to “find us some young families” and help them incorporate themselves into our church.

If we are going to grow, not just survive but grow, then we have to reach out to those generations that are several generations after mine. The problem for me is that they speak a language that I don’t understand. They use social networking tools that I don’t know how to use. The manner in which they approach church, worship, mission — all the things we do — are different than mine. So if we are going to try and reach out to those generations, I had to have someone who can speak their language. Audrua is that person.

Now, the flip side of that is that Audrua and I have to learn to communicate with each other. THAT is a process we are working on!

The Minnesota humorist and my philosopher of choice, Garrison Keillor, comments that in spring the wildflowers have to rise up through layers of their dead relatives in order to reach the sunlight and bloom. I’m not quite in the category of a “dead relative,” but we are striving to bloom as the body of Christ in Irving, Texas, and points beyond.

See you in church.
Bill La Barr's signature

Micah 6:8

...what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?