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Riding the Train

Riding the Train

by Rev. Lee Johnson on February 23, 2019

It’s off to Saint Louis on the Missouri River Runner Amtrak and the 2019 General Conference of The United Methodist Church. It has taken years to get on this train.  This morning, I am mindful of those who helped me find a seat.

While a student at Saint Paul School of Theology, Susan Vogel was Dean of Students or something like that – she’s had lots of titles – none more important to me than mentor and friend. It was Susan’s careful, measured, always graceful manner that first reminded of the goodness of God’s hand in my creation.  To this day, she continues to do so. I could not be more thankful for Susan in my life.

Following seminary, I served as youth pastor at Valley View UMC. Hobart Hildyard was the senior pastor. At first, Hobart was confused by my reluctant view of ordination. The truth be known, I confused Hobart many times. Hobart, who helped edit the 1992 Book of Discipline, convinced me of my calling to ordination.  Go figure.

Emily and Lovett Weems and their family, Lovett III, Cynthia, Elizabeth and Lawrence, have invited me into their family for more than 30 years now, including me in meaningful moments. I am grateful for their acceptance and kindness, it has kept me going.

Over the course of 35 years, I have served in seven ministry settings: Asbury (three times), Valley View, Lawrence First, Church of the Servant, Seward, Elkhorn Hills, and Saint Paul School of Theology. In each setting, God placed people to keep me in line, well behaved, and to keep me in ministry. (Actually, many, many people.)  They ride the train, too.

Finally, last but never least, there’s David.  He drove me to the station this morning!

Welcome aboard, EVERYONE!

Look for my blog each day on this site.




PS - In case you are wondering what I will be doing in Saint Louis: for the next five days, I will work in a “communications hub” for Mainstream UMC and the Reconciling Ministries Network.  Both groups support the One Church Plan which, if passed, begins the process of creating a more welcoming United Methodist Church in relationship to the GLBTQ community.  My job in the hub is to help write and produce a morning “one sheet,” that encourages voting delegates to support the plan.  While it is not perfect, leaving in place the possibility some in the church will continue to experience the pain and sadness of discrimination, the plan begins the process of removing sanctions that have proven harmful to many in the GLBTQ community, including friends and family, and to the theological integrity of The United Methodist Church.

So, here’s what you can do: Pray…pray…pray.

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