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,