New Mornings of Ministry: A Reflection from Your New District Superintendent

posted on July 03

“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice…”
 Psalm 5:3 

Each morning, I take at least thirty minutes to sit quietly and openly in God’s presence. This gives me some time to meditate upon scripture, frame my day by sharing my hopes with God, and most of all seek God’s refinement and guidance in those hopes. I’ve been doing this for many years, inspired by the words of the great Dietrich Bonhoeffer - “the early morning belongs to the Church of the Risen Christ.” 

He says this in Life Together, one of my favorite books: 

At the threshold of the new day stands the Lord who made it… Therefore, at the beginning of the day let all distraction and empty talk be silenced and let the first thought and the first word belong to him in whom our whole life belongs. (Life Together, p.43)

I am aware, even as I go through my own current ministry transition, that more than 35 persons and churches in our district are also undergoing days of transition. Many new mornings of ministry are beginning, even this week.  Some are moving from far away, and others are relocating within the district. Still others are taking on a new or expanded role. Wow, it’s easy to push hard on weeks like these and forget to reflect. It’s easy to forget that the early morning is Christ’s time for us and with us, just as it was that first Easter morning. Let us not begin with to-do lists or with anxiety; let us begin each day with Christ. 

As I begin to settle in to the District Office, I want to take a moment to encourage each of you who are beginning new appointments and receiving persons into new appointments, and also each of you who, while you might not be in ministry transition, are perhaps using summertime to establish some new, life-giving practices. Let our Lord have that important time; he will use it to shape your character and your day. I encourage you to lean into life-giving practices, no matter what your circumstance. 

It was a joy to meet many of you at Nancy’s retirement party at Christ UMC last month, and I look forward to our mutual ministry in the Northern Piedmont District. Nancy is my long-time mentor and friend, and I am honored to follow in her footsteps. Lynne, Landa, and Maria have been a great help to me as I have unpacked my boxes and begun to find my way. You have a terrific district staff! 

As you can imagine, my pace of life has accelerated tremendously since being named a District Superintendent. For several months, I was navigating these new waters as well as serving as Senior Pastor of Ardmore UMC. My work is now complete at Ardmore, and I am at your service as Chief Missional Strategist of this wonderful district.  My husband, Jeff, and I have recently purchased a home in this area, and we look forward to closing on it in a few weeks.  Jeff is also an Elder in our connection, and he serves as Senior Pastor at Maple Springs UMC in Winston-Salem. Our daughter Ellen (25) is on the ministry staff at Hillsdale UMC in Advance and is also Executive Director at Hearts with Haiti, a non-profit serving two orphanages in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel.  Our son Thomas (20) is a counselor at Camp Mount Shepherd in the Uwharrie District and will be a junior at Appalachian State University this fall.  

I am eager to meet you and share with you in the work of the Gospel. I hope you can be present at my Installation Service on Sunday, August 26 at 4:00 pm at Wesley Memorial UMC in High Point.

Looking Forward,

Bev Coppley

Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.