Glenn Memorial UMC has a reputation that precedes it. And if you are reading this, you know exactly what I am talking about. When Kaylen and I found out we were coming to Glenn, I think there may have been literal jumping and cheering. This church holds incredibly brilliant people - professors, theologians, lawyers, doctors, artists, and many others we could learn so much from. Then our feet hit the ground and we had to consider the reality of what we could bring to the table at Glenn.
Kaylen obviously had an assigned title and position, but my role as pastor’s wife extraordinaire was a bit more elusive. I arrived at Glenn ready to glean as much as I could from this prominent church and its stalwart members. I expected to learn about hospitality and about “loving thy neighbor” - which, of course, I have - but wouldn’t you know God had something more challenging for me to learn?
The people of Glenn are unapologetic in furthering God’s grace and love. And they will tell you about it clearly. And then they will ask you what you are going to do to help the cause or they will emphatically encourage you in tackling your own spiritual missions and personal interests.
Glenn asks why - the how, the when, and the what are all less important. Glenn has taught me that if we know the reason we are moving forward, then we can proceed with confidence and be more genuine in our achievements.
I have experienced this “why focused congregation” first hand. The Lydia “Semi-Circle” knits prayer shawls because they know people need prayers literally wrapped around them. Physical prayers are impactful. This “why” is so powerful that Kaylen and I both started attending their meetings and knitting…y’all, Kaylen Short learned how to knit, and finished his first prayer shawl before I finished mine!
During Eggcellent Saturday's Easter egg hunt I colored on the sidewalk with the Campbell family, some of our awesome new members, because their daughter wanted the path to be colorful for all the kids coming to the festivities.
I rode on a bus to the state capitol with members of Glenn, stood on the steps in peaceful protest with Andrew and Kara Johnson, and cried for the life of Kelly Gissendaner. We stood there because grace is amazing and never ending.
And the women at Glenn - I’m going to pause here and have you imagine me with both hands up in the air as I say this - the women at Glenn are powerful. They are realists and dreamers. They bring all that they have every single time I see them. At the Women’s Retreat, in a circle of women I hardly knew, I danced with Sara McKlin to “Turn, Turn, Turn”. Why? Because I wanted them to feel as free and as joyful as I felt in that community of women. Because riding to the retreat with Mary Lindsey, Betty, and Sonya was the epitome of good Methodist hospitality. You all have taught me more than I can even truly appreciate or describe right now. Keep rockin’ it out - you are magically inspiring.
Glenn embraces every kind of person - children, youth, elders, long-time members, and first-time visitors. And each of these people come to the same table. We say the same words, eat the same bread, and drink of the same cup. We bring all that we are to this communion table. We ask for grace and we are renewed and encouraged/challenged to take that grace into our world. Glenn, and all the dear people that are this church, has challenged me to constantly discover and evaluate who I am. Glenn has challenged me to envision how God’s love can be embodied in all that Kaylen and I do in ministry together.
We are inspired immensely by you all and we love you. May the Lord bless you and keep you - we certainly will always carry Glenn in our hearts.
After being appointed to Glenn in June 2015, Kaylen and Alli Short will move to Auburn, GA this June to serve at Midway United Methodist Church. For their last Sunday with us, June 5, Kaylen will preach both morning services and the congregation will celebrate with lemonade and cookies on the lawn after 11:00 a.m. worship.