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Tuesday, October 28, 2008


The moment of truth has arrived; the moment you have all been preparing me for. It is supposed to snow tonight. Not much snow by your standards: 4-8 inches here in Queensbury and a foot in the higher elevations. Rick, our home remodeller who has become a part of our family came in to prepare me.

"You won't need to break out the blower," he said, "just use the shovel on this one. In fact, I'll put the shovel out where you can find it."

He went on to explain how heavy wet snow on the remaining leaves could lead to snapped branches and downed power lines. "It's the loss of power that gets you," he went on. "You have no computer, no way to read, no TV and no heat. It's just several days of camping out in the dark. That's what drives people crazy. Did you know that Vermont has the highest rate of suicide due to the long, dark winters? But not to worry, we aren't in Vermont."

"No," I thought, "But we are right next door. We get the same snow, the same dark, and make the same syrup. It seems to me that we are kinda like kissin' cousins to Vermont. But we'll be okay. We've already been camping out for longer than three days. It's made us a bit daft, but it hasn't driven us over the edge yet."

Would you believe that all of our furniture and boxes are now in the house. We (well, Susan was still in Philly with her dad) moved in on Saturday, with help from four guys I hired. Did I mention that the movers were supposed to arrive at 9:30 am when the weather was very nice? If they had come then instead of at 3:30 pm we would not have been moving in the dark, in a driving rainstorm and I could have turned the truck in earlier that 10:00 pm. They also seemed surprised that I was concerned that what I smelled on their breath might hinder their judgement and coordination a bit.

"Guys," I told them, "I know this doesn't look like much, but it's all we have. Take care of it please."

But it's over! We have our stuff under one roof. Now the fun part, making a house a home. Susan has excelled as a homemaker in the eleven houses in which we have lived. Books and favorite chairs; blankets and family pictures; a place to sit and a place to read and, before long, it's home. In fact, I have Susan and her friend Pat working in the kitchen as I write - perhaps tomorrow I'll get some grits!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

First 100 Days - Part 2

It has been two weeks since our last communication. In the spirit of accountability I thought I should bring you up to date on the list of 100 day goals that I shared earlier:

1) Move into the District Center. The workmen are 90% finished. In fact, they anticipate everything being completed this week. However, with the ordination service and the minister’s retreat just ahead, I think we will wait to move in on October 23rd.

As most of you have experienced in periods of transition, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. And this transition has been no different. As you remember, we moved into two rooms on the lower level of the “district center” where we are camping until we officially move in. One day after Susan left for Indiana to be with our daughter who was due with our eighth grandchild, the furnace went out. Chelsea, our dog and I, warmed ourselves by the two electric heaters that were graciously made available to us. And yes, it was during the cold snap. One morning as I showered I felt “things” backing up around my ankles and stuff between my toes. You guessed it. The sewer picked this moment to back up. I was grateful that Susan was away for this.

However, the furnace is now fixed and we are toasty warm. The sewer is now fixed and all is well – but I do want to thank Dick Osborne! While I was away on a long day, Dick went beyond the call of duty by cleaning up a royal mess in the downstairs bath. Dick, it wasn’t expected but was greatly appreciated!

2. My books are unpacked and the office is 90% set up. It should be completed as soon as a couple of files arrive!

3. We are accepting resumes for an executive assistant to work alongside me in the office.

4. Approximately 80 are registered for the minister’s retreat. I am looking forward to these two days with my team. Our formal and informal times together will set the tone for our year together. This is an “all hands on deck” event and all team members should be present.

5. Zone chairman should be scheduling the zone Christmas Parties with my office. This is assuming that you wish for me to show up!

6. I have seen 20 churches and parsonages so far…

7. Little by little I’m sitting down with pastor’s and spouses to get acquainted. I’ll schedule more of these times while at the district retreat next week.

8. An overnight DBA Retreat is set for November 7-8, 2008.

9. The sale of the camp moves forward as lawyers work to get proposals to the Attorney General’s office and the Supreme Court.

10. I appointed Dick Engert as interim pastor at Corinth, Paul Dettmer to Colton, and Jonathan Hunter to West Chazy. I am working with Cobleskill, Brookdale, Heuvelton, and Fort Miller in their pastoral searches.

Susan is now home and we have a new grandson – Josiah Michael!

Don’t forget the Ordination Service this Sunday evening for Gloria Strong at the Lisbon Wesleyan Church. Dr. Thomas Armiger will be the speaker and the meeting will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Be praying for our District Youth Camp this weekend – beginning on Friday evening.

All in all a very eventful two weeks,

Pastor Paul

First 100 Days - Part 1 (9/30/08)

Dear Leader and Team Player of Eastern New York/New England District:


Just 3 ½ weeks ago we were gathered at the firehouse for district conference. A lot of water has gone over the dam since then. Susan and I have been very busy but very happy people. We believe that we are in the center of God’s will. You are our people and we love you! God has brought us together to share this stage of the journey – to do life together.

On July 2nd in my devotions I read these verses regarding the conversion of Saul: “Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the road to Damascus. Barnabas also told then what the Lord had said to Saul and how he boldly preached in the name of Jesus in Damascus. The apostles accepted Saul, and after that he was constantly with them in Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord…then the church had peace throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria, and it grew in strength and numbers. The believers were walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit.”

As I read these verses, the Holy Spirit whispered to me:
*You will be accepted in Eastern New York/New England
*You will be constantly with them (your team)
*You will preach boldly
*The churches will have peace
*The churches will grow in number and strength
*The believers will walk in the fear of the Lord
*The believers will be comforted by the Holy Spirit.

Today (Tuesday) Susan flies to Indiana to be with our daughter, Beth, who is scheduled to deliver our eighth grand child this week. When she returns in approximately 10 days, we hope that the district center will be ready to move into. While she is away, I’ll be living in two of the downstairs rooms of the district parsonage that are not undergoing renovation.

We are both anticipating the minister’s retreat October 20-21. This teambuilding event will set the tone for our first year together. If you have not yet registered, please do so today by contacting Jeff Turcotte at (518) 293-7149.

I have been asked to speak in all the sessions so that we can get better acquainted. Please pray with me that God will continue His Spirit of renewal and healing that was evident at conference. During the retreat I’ll bring you up to speed on happenings from across the district.

When leaders join organizations, they often have a list of goals they hope to accomplish during the that first 100 days. Here is what I believe God want us to accomplish between now and January 1st:

1. Get moved into the district center
2. Get my office set up with books unpacked and all office equipment and computers working properly
3. Hire office personnel. Dean Brown did a splendid job but now wishes to focus on building Ridge Road Wesleyan Church. We are grateful for all that Dean did to keep the office going during the time of the DS search. Thanks, Dean!
4. Have a wonderful team building ministerial retreat with all our pastors and spouses present.
5. Have great teambuilding Christmas parties in each of our zones.
6. I will see every parsonage and church.
7. I will sit down with every pastor and spouse for a time of fellowship and “getting acquainted.”
8. Have a DBA retreat to get direction and set goals.
9. Close on the sale of the camp to the association.
10. Have a pastor, interim pastor, or interim plan for each church.

You will be happy to know that the district sent Ralph and Linda Chapman on a three-day vacation – all expenses paid – as a way of showing our appreciation for his work as Acting District Superintendent. Ralph reports they went to Vermont, rested and had a great time. Thanks, Ralph and Linda!

In closing, I want to once again emphasize the Ministerial Retreat. Some of the topics and key words that you will hearing during our two days together will be:

*Soul Winning!

Until the 20th!

Pastor Paul

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Minister's Retreat 2008

We just came off  a 30-hour retreat with my team of 80 leaders.  I shared with them the principle of The Law of the Take-away and here are some of their responses to the questions I left with them:

1. As you go from the retreat, what will you be thinking about?

"What a great gathering and what a great DS.  I feel like we have been drawn closer together as a district than we have in years."

"I will be thinking about how fulfilling this time was."

"How I can reach the souls of my youth in our local schools."

"Loving, serving and giving with all my heart.  I will be thinking bigger and how glad and fulfilled I feel."


"The potential that is ours to touch New York and New England with the message of Jesus Christ"

2. What has God spoken to you about?

"Strengthening of team-building"
"A stronger focus on the purpose of ministry"
"Aspiring to go higher than I've been before - keeping thrilled about Jesus!"
"Time away to re-group"
"I can change and grow and become a better leader"

3. What did you learn?

"There is a place for everyone to serve"
"We need a new vision and set of goals"
"It's His kingdom - I'm an ambassador willing, ready and excited"
"God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things"
"The value and spiritual power associated with a great leader following his dream and inviting others to go with him to see it fulfilled"

4. What are you excited about?

"There are better days to come"
"The future"
"Where our team is heading"
"I'll never be the same.  The souls that are going to be won and all the new churches and pastors God is going to raise up"
"All the tools that you have given us that will help us take our churches and district to a new health level"
"New churches, new leaders, and new faces in our churches"

What did you take away from our time together at the retreat?  Let me know!