All posts by agapechurch

Thursday, July 11th

We made it to Thursday! Rec Day!!!! We spent the morning in a factory where used tires are converted into door mats. The crews were split into teams of 2 and everyone attempted to create a door mat. Most of us found it confusing and had to start over a few times.

Then we traveled to the Red Oak Dog Park only to find out it really important to put the whole name in the gps. Then we arrived at the Red Oak Water park.  The weather was beautiful and everyone enjoyed the slides, wave pool and lazy river. In the evening we traveled to the Heidelberg Project–an entire street which transformed junk into Art. When we returned Rev Hoyte and Terri had arrived. We finished our day with team reports and an ice cream sundae bar.

Who is the Real Hoyt(e) Wilhelm?

When I was in first-grade, my Mom and Dad shared with me that people often asked if I was related to and named after the famous, hall-of-fame knuckleball pitcher, Hoyt Wilhelm. My parents told inquirers that I was not named after the pitcher but rather my Uncle Hoyte (spelled with an “e”) who was the late husband of my Aunt Pearl, my mother’s older sister. I was really curious about all the questions about my name and often wondered at a very young age who the real Hoyt(e) was—the pitcher, my Uncle or me. Playfully, all I can claim about the pitcher is that I have two of his autographs—one on an action, black and white photo—both in response to a hand-written letter that I wrote him when I was in first-grade!

Names are very important and each of us has a story about how we were named. Were you named after a relative, family friend, or a famous person? My wife Terri and I chose the name, Timothy, for our son and the name, Megan, for our daughter simply because they were our favorite choices. One of my first priorities in beginning my ministry will be to learn the names of people connected with the faith community of North Olmsted UMC. I will enjoy listening to and learning about the life stories connected with all the names!

There is one name that is common to all of us: “children of God.” There are at least two scriptures that remind us of this reality. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are.” (I John 3:1). “For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith.” (Galatians 3:26). It is wonderful to know that we are all children of God with no exceptions and that we are received, loved and accepted for our real selves! That is something that we can celebrate everyday of our lives while encouraging people connected or yet to connect to the church that they can experience love as one of God’s children.

What makes us real in living the names and life that God has given each of us? It entails believing that each one of us is known and loved by God and called to live authentically with others in work and play. So, what does that mean for me as your new pastor? Knowing that I am loved and cared for by God I will seek to love and care for you by listening, encouraging, and supporting you in all matters of life and faith. I will lead and grow with you through the guidance of God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I will share my life story and invite you to share yours, too, as we build relationships with one another in fellowship, study, mission and worship.

What are a few things about “Hoyte Wilhelm” that might begin to provide you with some insight about him? He loves to fish and was most recently glad to hang on one of his walls a 40” Musky to join his record-catching 18 ¼” Black Crappie. He enjoys dark chocolate, hiking in metro and state parks, engaging in activities of silence and worshipful reflection, and relaxing with others over meals and conversation. Hoyte gets excited about helping people to discover and share their true selves with others in and beyond the church.

This will be fun and exciting!

Peace in Christ,

Pastor Hoyte

Until We Meet Again

As I write this, my last Agape column as your pastor, I reflect on our past eight years together. Since starting my appointment to NOUMC on July 1, 2011, I have preached 420 sermons. I have performed twelve weddings, forty funerals, and eleven baptisms. It has been a sincere privilege and high honor to officiate at weddings and funerals; and there is no greater calling for a clergy person than to serve the sacraments of the church to the people of God.

Still, the past eight years have been about a lot more than just the official duties of my ordination. You are not only my parishioners, you are my friends. Together we have worked on mission trips, youth outings, and event planning. We have shared in four full-length Disciple Classes and six shorter Bible Studies. We have struggled through hard times and celebrated good times; and I will cherish those times as much as I cherish the memories of our worship together.

Retirement is a real mix of joy and sadness. I’m looking forward to what the future holds, but I will miss my friends. Still, I am very pleased that Rev. Hoyte Wilhelm will be taking my place. I have every confidence that he will lead this church forward to a really bright future; and for that I am very grateful.

As I head into retirement I celebrate that, in The United Methodist Church, clergy are ordained for life. (That’s not true in all denominations.) I will always be able to lead worship, perform weddings and funerals, and most of all, celebrate sacraments; and I have been assured by both my District Superintendent and my fellow clergy that I will have plenty of opportunities to do so.

I also look forward to doing some of the things I have not had time to do while serving a church full-time. As a trained piano technician, I’m going to spend more time working on pianos and playing pianos. I’m hoping to spend more time doing some genealogy research. I want to do some writing and possibly more teaching. I still have a dream of maybe someday building a harpsichord; and, of course, Ginny and I both really love to travel. I have no doubt that my retirement time will be filled with joyful activities.

Some of you know that I have been studying German at the German Cultural Center in Olmsted Township. (I’ve been studying German for three reasons: travel; family heritage and genealogical research; and the joy of actually understanding classical vocal music in its original language.) Those of you who know even just a little German know that the German words for Good-Bye are Auf Wiedersehen. But “technically” Auf Wiedersehen doesn’t mean Good-Bye. It literally means “on again seeing” or “until we see [each other] again.” As I am continuing to live in the area and continuing to maintain my United Methodist Connection, I am sure we will continue to see each other.

And so, as July 1 approaches, I simply say Danke schön (thank you) for eight wonderful years and Auf Wiedersehen (until we meet again). Know that I will always keep NOUMC and all my parishioners/friends in my prayers, as I wish you every success and happiness.

Grace and peace always,

Rev. Mark