News and Views

The word is… reconnect

Posted by Guest Author on

...well said

Ancient church mothers and fathers often greeted one another with the phrase, “Give me a word.” This greeting led to the sharing of insights and wisdom. Today we continue this tradition with this monthly column.


By Rev. Mandy Sayers
Pastor, Covenant UMC, Gaithersburg

Aaah, summer. In our house, summer means we create what we call our “Summer Bucket List.” Each family member gets to add to the list specific things they’d like to experience before Labor Day rolls around. Items routinely include beach and zoo trips, baseball games, fairs, fireworks, pool time and specific roller coasters.

We have had ongoing projects like the Ice Cream Taste Test of 2013, where we sampled the ice cream of every ice cream store within a specific radius to see which one was best. (Brusters and Jimmie Cone split our household). For this summer, I’m still in prayer about it as of this writing, but I’m thinking about Never Miss a Sunset and Get Sermons Done Before Saturday…we’ll see.

Now, you should know that I am NOT a planner by nature. When my work requires it, I can plan, but my nature is to keep options open, make a list and lose it, that sort of thing. I’m a procrastinator (see sermon note, above). I’m the sort of person who buys organizers and then doesn’t use them.

One of the many things I’ve learned as a pastor is that it’s so easy to get absorbed in the work of ministry and miss out on connection with the people I love the most — spouse, children, friends. These folks are God’s gift, just as surely as my vocation is a gift, and very often they pay the price when there’s a funeral or a meeting or church events for seven Saturdays in a row. It would be easy to be so busy hurrying off to church to preach on the Good Samaritan that I pass by several folks in the ditch on the way.

Summer is a precious time where I have permission to slow down and to spend some extra time connecting with people, looking them in the eye, and really listening to them. Summer is a season where there’s just a little more space for rejoicing in God’s creation and in Sabbath rest. It’s Sabbath, writ large, wearing sunscreen and a big floppy hat. I commend it to you.

Time is precious and to live is a gift. Don’t waste your summer in a silo of work and business as usual. Fight idolatry. Be a rebel. Reconnect.

PS: What’s on YOUR summer bucket list?  I’m always looking for inspiration! Email me at .

By Rev. Daryl Williams
Pastor, St. Paul UMC, Oxon Hill

As I was sitting in my home a few weeks ago, the worst thing in the world happened. There I was, happily plodding along doing some sermon research on the internet. Everything was fine, when all of a sudden there was a blink on the TV and then it went blank. Not only that, but as I tried to go from one site to another, I couldn’t, and I got an error message.

Yes, you guessed it: the cable and the internet went out at the same time. To say the least, I was completely at a loss about what to do. Then it got even worse: the cable company, who will remain nameless, told me it would be two days before they could get a service tech out to fix the problem. TWO WHOLE DAYS!!! What was I going to do?

That evening, a funny thing happened. My wife and I sat at the dinner table and just talked to one another. We didn’t check our devices; we didn’t watch TV; we just sat and talked. We caught up on each other’s day, we told stories, we laughed and joked and had a wonderful time.

When dinner was over, we sat in the living room, and believe it or not we kept talking. For the next two days, while our information access was disconnected, we reconnected. We got the chance to just be with each other and enjoy each other’s company. We got the chance to remember that we actually like just sitting around, being with each other and being joined together. Because we disconnected from the outside world, we reconnected with each other.

As we look back on the 233rd Session of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, I want to invite you to reconnect. Annual Conference gave us the chance to reconnect. It was a time to step away from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of our ministries and spend time with our sisters and brothers in Christ, connecting around our common beliefs, our common heritage and our common goals of serving God and making disciples of Christ.

The theme for this year’s conference was “We are one.” We can only be one if we take the time to connect with each other and truly be one with one another. So this year, instead of checking how that friend is doing by looking at Facebook, call them or, better yet, go have a coffee with them. Take time this summer to be with one another. Find some time to reconnect.