In his book Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, having been imprisoned and later hung by the Nazis in Germany, asserts that communal life, the physical presence of other Christians, is a gift of grace. Christian community is unified through and in Jesus Christ. We Christians must regard community as not a ‘dream world’ of great experience and discoverable riches, but as inherently messy; for it is not an ideal which we must realize; it is rather a reality created by God in Christ in which we may participate. Life together begins with you and me here and now in Christ.
Two things I ask your help with: Invite me to your place or visit me in my office. I am here for you. I will be in my office (8 AM -12 noon) if there is no other engagement. My visits to you will be in the afternoon. I believe, the more we know; the deeper we share life. I am looking forward to getting to know you by seeing, talking and sharing face-to-face.
Your pastor, Seok-Hwan
Weekly Letter - Week of July 2nd
Hooray! Hooray! Finally, I’m coming home!
Blue skies; tall pine trees; green oak trees; peaceful Stony Brook reservoir; a little hot for early summer; sunlight; fresh air with a little breeze; migrant and resident singing birds; and warm and welcoming people on my first Sunday morning here at Westford UMC! With great expectation and a little anxiety, I opened a new chapter of my life and ministry here.
Over the last seven years, I have visited 65 churches, worshiping as a district superintendent, supervising pastors and churches, and cheerleading them to be the church of Jesus Christ in their communities. Each Sunday, I wondered where I would go and what I would do: checking the troubled church or helping the sick pastor, encouraging a depressed community or learning from new-born flourishing non-denominational churches. Whether driving two and half hours to Provincetown UMC on Cape Cod, or 5 minutes to Epworth UMC in Pawtucket, RI on Sunday for worshipping God. It was quite a challenging routine. Though exciting at first, as time went by, it was an unsettling and lonely journey as a worshipper, meeting different people at different communities every Sunday. I missed having a stable and deep relationship with worshiping people. I liked the churches and loved the people where I visited -- but it was just visitation, a one-time event. It was not enough to see them once a year in a church meeting setting.
Finally, I feel at home. Home sweet home, with my own people to love and to be loved. I now look forward to Sunday and meeting the same people to whom I am entrusted, and to worship God together in the same place Sunday after Sunday. I am so grateful for this special privilege.
Dear friends! Thank you for being my family and thank you for your generosity to accept me as your companion in this journey on earth. I will be there for you again with a great feast of the word of God this coming Sunday. I look forward to seeing whoever can join us as we worship together.
Your pastor, Seok-Hwan
Weekly Letter - Week of June 25th
Greetings in the name of LOVE and HOPE, Jesus Christ our Lord!
When I came to Westford on February 2, the first thing that caught my eye was water: Is it a pond, lake or river? It was still a chilly winter, but so beautiful and peaceful. On June 20, we moved into the parsonage in more peaceful and gorgeous surroundings with green trees and the church sign with my name, “Rev. Dr. Seok-Hwan Hong.” It makes me realize that I am really here. In addition, the church welcomed and helped us to settle down quickly. Thank you all
I love to run and walk. So, I researched trails in Westford and discovered some interesting information: “The woods are full of migratory song birds such as various warbler species, scarlet tanangers, orioles, and thrushes. Many resident birds such as barred, screech and great horned owl nest here too.” (Westford Newsletter) I, as a migratory singing bird will join you, many resident birds, in worship this Sunday, July 2.
I have tried to prepare my first sermon to be all impressive and memorable, making it much harder to prepare. Finally, I gave up my strong desire to make an impressive sermon. Instead, I decided to share my heart and dream of what God wants us to be and to do in this new journey. I am ready to welcome you all and embrace you with a big heart and cheerful mind, which makes me both excited and a little nervous.
I am waiting to encounter my new church family with great expectation and love. I strongly believe that as Stony Brook Reservoir contains enormous water, our Lord Jesus Christ has already prepared the reservoir of Love and Hope in the community of Westford. Come, come to experience God’s unimaginable reservoir of Grace and Love. You, as resident birds, and me, as a migratory song bird, shall become a family through worshipping One God the Creator on Sunday morning!
Now your pastor, Seok-Hwan
10 Church Street
Westford, MA 01886
Sunday Morning Worship
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