REV. HEATHER VALOSIN

EMAIL PASTOR HEATHER

August 2019

“Be sure to revere YHWH and serve YHWH with your heart and soul. Think about all the good things God has done among you.” – 1 Samuel 12:24*


Our two sermon series this summer have focused on a growing awareness of God’s presence in our daily lives and in the natural world. My hope is that our faith becomes an integral part of our lives as we find comfort in our identity in Jesus Christ, as well as hear the Biblical challenge to care for each other and all forms of life. I’m grateful for this congregation and the ways you already make a positive impact as followers of Jesus with your time, gifts and generosity. I’m also on the lookout for people who feel God is leading them to try something new, whether it includes participating in a small group or a Bible study, volunteering on a committee, organizing a new program and/or giving generously to support the ministries of the church. Let us pray together that we follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we experiment, reflect, revise and most importantly, continue growing in faith. God bless you.


*This comes from “The Inclusive Bible: The First Egalitarian Translation” of the Bible (2007) that challenges traditional ways of speaking about God as “Father” in order to recover the sense of the original Hebrew and Greek texts without perpetuating sexism. While some of us feel comfortable using traditional male language to describe God, since God is truly without gender, using expansive language like YHWH (the name told to Moses in Exodus 3:15) can help us explore and deepen our relationship with God in response to the variety of images of God presented in Scripture.


April 2019

Dear DCC Family,


Throughout the year after any pastoral transition, the question lingers, “How will church life change?” My hope and prayer this year is that while you have been able to recognize differences between my pastoral leadership and that of my predecessors, the majority of the meaningful aspects of worship, along with community-building and service opportunities, have remained consistent.


Please invite your family and friends to worship this month. We have twelve unique worship services planned before Christmas Day: Sunday mornings in the sanctuary; Sunday evenings out in the community; a Quiet Christmas Service of Remembrance and Hope; and Christmas Eve Services at 4pm, 7pm and 11pm.


This year during Holy Week, children will help us celebrate Palm Sunday, the choir will present a beautiful cantata, Jesus’ final meal will come alive with a Maundy Thursday drama and Good Friday will be remembered with the Christian Drama School’s Cross Carry in the afternoon and a music filled Stations of the Cross in the evening.


On Easter, we are planning to continue this church’s tradition of gathering at 6:30am to celebrate with the Sunrise Service. Later in the morning worship will include the choir, hand bell choir and brass players at the 9:30 and 11:30am as we continue the joyous celebration that Christ is Risen!


The unexpected will come on April 28th when I share with you the medieval Christian tradition of celebrating Easter with “Holy Hilarity Sunday”. This will be a time when we remember the surprise and joy of the resurrection. When something catches us off guard, we often laugh so this will be a day of laughter in the most sacred sense of the word.


As we begin our tenth month together, I remain grateful for the opportunity to join you in ministry, putting God’s love into action with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

March 2019

Dear DCC Family,


Last month the Special Session of General Conference adopted by slim majority the Traditionalist Plan that limits ministry to and with people who are gay and lesbian specifically concerning marriage and ordination. This caught many of us off guard because it was not the plan endorsed by our bishops to recognize the many theological stances within our worldwide denomination. Many people are grieving this decision.


Moving forward, I need to see this plan in its totality with the amendments that were proposed from the floor. I understand many parts of it are unconstitutional according to our church constitution which means the annual conferences may have the opportunity to vote on various aspects of it. This is where DCC could have a vote through your lay representative, Emma Worrall. She and I will be attending a Special Session of Annual Conference on March 16thto understand what has happened and what is ahead.


In the meantime, we’re carrying on ministry as usual because we do many great things together. Thanks to the strong lay leadership of this congregation, we offer many opportunities for you to make a positive impact on the world as a follower of Jesus Christ. I remain grateful for the opportunity to be in ministry with you all. If you are gay or lesbian, please know that you remain a beloved child of God.


With prayer, Rev. Heather Valosin


"Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is in the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit." - Jeremiah 17:7-8


February 2019

Dear Church Family,


Conflict is inevitable in life, but how we handle conflict reflects our faith as followers of Jesus.


Now we begin the season of Advent as we prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth on Christmas Eve. While we seek comfort and cheer in familiar traditions, I will preach on Sunday mornings about “Strange Encounters” that are described at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke. As we remember how God worked through these unexpected moments, we can look for God’s movement in our own lives as we dare to hope, put love into action, express joy and walk in the way of peace.


Please invite your family and friends to worship this month. We have twelve unique worship services planned before Christmas Day: Sunday mornings in the sanctuary; Sunday evenings out in the community; a Quiet Christmas Service of Remembrance and Hope; and Christmas Eve Services at 4pm, 7pm and 11pm.


This month our denomination is preparing for a special session of General Conference with 800+ delegates representing United Methodists from around the world. For almost fifty years, we have debated whether or not to marry and ordain people who are gay and lesbian. This may be a transitional moment when the denomination may divide, or perhaps no consensus will be found. Admittedly it’s difficult to find common ground when United Methodists around the world come from a variety of cultural contexts, ranging from those that accept homosexuality to those that deem it illegal. Within these contexts, there are United Methodists who strive to interpret Scripture faithfully and yet come to different conclusions. The delegates need our prayers.


While United Methodists in New Jersey have eight delegates representing us at this legislative body, you and I cannot control the outcome. We can, however, control our reactions.


I hope and pray that during this debate, which will likely be covered by the national news, we remember that this is not about an “issue” but rather about people. Please continue to share God’s love with all people, even those who have different opinions and Biblical interpretations, and especially with our relatives and friends who are gay and lesbian. They are of sacred worth and might appreciate the reminder that they are loved. I think I would if I were in their shoes.


“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12


With prayer, Rev. Pastor Heather


Our Greater New Jersey Conference has curated webpages for our church on the three plans, how to talk about the issues within congregations and actions we can take in this time of uncertainty. More details can be found at https://www.gnjumc.org/the-way-forward/.