e-letter 7/6/18

Hellllooo, Suntree! It was with great joy that I joined you (officially) this past weekend. While I moved to the area June 23, as with all other United Methodist pastors, my first day was Sunday, July 1. And what a day it was! Not only did I get to meet so many of you in Traditional worship (Gathering, I’ll see you next Sunday!), I also got to enjoy Suntree Stars & Stripes on Sunday evening. I came home and flopped on my couch, absolutely exhausted, but so full from a wonderful day of new beginnings.

A little about me: I grew up in Mount Dora. I have one younger sister, who is studying to be a teacher. I am very close to both my extended and immediate family, and you’ll probably see my parents/sister around here a lot (they are excited I live at the beach!). I most recently lived in Durham, N.C., but I’ve called Central Florida home for my whole life. I was raised Catholic, but joined a United Methodist youth group to make friends my freshman year of high school. I received my Bachelor of Arts from Florida Southern College (go Mocs!) and my Masters of Divinity from Duke Divinity School (go Blue Devils!). While I am not athletic at all, my family loves to run, and so this past year I ran a half marathon. I try to stay active through running and yoga. I love a good cup of coffee, keeping up with Duke Basketball, beach-walking, local restaurants, and listening to people tell their story.

I sensed my call to ministry early in high school, a little after I joined the United Methodist youth group that my friends went to. I stayed, at first, because of the friends I made and then, the opportunities available for women in leadership in The United Methodist Church. After my years of higher education, I know I’m a United Methodist because our theology is radically grace-filled, and a powerful witness to the world. My passion in ministry is summed up in this: I deeply desire that the world knows the deep, life-changing love of Christ, and that the Church lives that love out in real, tangible ways. Particular passions for me are mission and outreach, reconciliation, Christian community, and spiritual formation with a focus on both inward and outward holiness.

I feel incredibly honored to have been appointed here by the Bishop and the Cabinet of the Florida Conference. Rev. Annette is a wonderful leader, the staff is a fantastic group, and this is an incredible church. I have felt so welcomed, cared for, and loved already, and at this writing, today is only my third day!

Last Sunday, we started a sermon series called “Things We Wish Jesus Didn’t Say.” I’m reminded as I reflect on this topic that following Jesus is not easy. It requires things from us that sometimes, we wish we could ignore. When we live together in grace-filled Christian community, we can hold one another accountable to the high cost of discipleship. It is my hope and prayer as I join this wonderful community that we will walk on towards perfection together, leaving one another better for having known each other.

If you see me around, please say hi! I am working hard on knowing all of your names, and can’t wait to know your stories, too. This week, I’ll be worshiping with The Gathering and preaching my introductory sermon. Will Kendust will begin the new the sermon series in the Traditional services.

With love and joy in Christ,
Pastor Allee