Charge to Rev. Tim Hughes-Williams and members of Light Street Presbyterian Church

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Rev. Kate Foster Connors

This charge to new Light Street Presbyterian Church minister Rev. Tim Hughes-Williams and church members was delivered Nov. 12 by Rev. Kate Foster Connors, director of The Center at Presbytery of Baltimore. 

“Tim:

You have never been one to take the simplest or easiest path. Never one to put your head down and run in a conventional line toward an obvious, traditional goal. No – you seem to prefer the creative challenge of a less well-defined route. I actually think that is where you are at your best.

So as you embark on this next part of your non-linear path, I’d like to offer you a few things to make sure you keep in your back pocket:

  • You cannot do this alone. You have this congregation with you – and you have a lot of colleagues and friends who are praying for you and for Light Street. You can, and should, ask for help – just make sure you are ready and willing to receive it.
  • Use your calendar wisely. Clogged toilets and bulletin covers and that newsletter article that is already late (!) can easily fill your whole schedule, leaving little time for the big plans you had for  your week. Plan carefully how you will use your time so that it reflects the priorities you and this congregation have set for your ministry here.
  • Every Church will take as much time as you will give them. Write your Sabbath time on your calendar just like you would write any other meeting or appointment. Schedule time with Perry, and with friends, and for yourself, and do not compromise it. The church will still be here afterward.
  • Be forgiving – of your congregation, and of yourself. When you’re trying new things, not everything’s going to work out. That’s okay. Learn from those failures, and move on. You will become a better pastor in the process, and you will have some great stories to tell later!
  • (I don’t think I really need to remind you of this but it’s important) – Keep a sense of humor. It is so important to be able to laugh at ourselves, and at ridiculous situations!
  • Trust that God is already at work in this place in ways we cannot even imagine. Be intentional about taking time to notice the new things that God is doing here, an in the Federal Hill and Sharp-Leadenhall neighborhoods.

To the congregation of Light Street Presbyterian:

  • You are so blessed to have Tim as your pastor. He is incredibly gifted. Trust that he is here because he is called by God to serve alongside you in this time and place.
  • I know that you are together facing some significant challenges. Uncross your arms, take a deep breath, and keep your minds open! Take some risks. Try some new things. Give Tim some freedom to do things differently. You won’t regret it.
  • Tim can’t do this missionary alone! He needs you beside him. This is not Tim’s work – this is YOUR work. Tim can encourage, energize, support, even lead – but he cannot do this all by himself. Find those places in ministry where you have the most energy, and dive in with both feet. As we always say to our soccer-playing daughters before a game,”Leave it all on the field!”
  • Trust the Holy Spirit to do a new thing here. Listen for God and summon the courage to follow wherever God leads you!
  • God has sent you a smart, creative and compassionate pastor who is ready to walk with you into the next chapter of your ministry in this neighborhood. Take care of him. Let him have Sabbath time. Support him and serve alongside him. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for you together.
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