God’s Word in Uncertain Times

Back around the beginning of the global pandemic earlier this year, I started a series of posts on Facebook where I shared verses of Scripture called, “God’s Word in Uncertain Times.” Of course, there are many, many words that speak to us in uncertain times. Here is the series I posted on Facebook over several … Read more

Foolishness or Faithfulness?

A Message for World Communion Sunday — Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20; Matthew 21:33-46 Are you a rule-follower? That’s something I never put into that language until one educator described one of his kids as that. Around 1988 I spent my summer on a short-term mission trip in the Philippines. Manila was my home-base. It was … Read more

Celebrating 3 Years

Life changed pretty dramatically three years ago. On the evening of September 19, 2017, I had a severe stroke, and quickly lost the use of my right side and my speech. I was taken to the ER in Clearfield, then I was flown to UPMC Altoona, then onto UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh before the night … Read more

God Has a Plan

In my new role as a district superintendent, I (Joleen) recently wrote this in an email to pastors in the Altoona District: Hear the words of the Lord from Jeremiah 29: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to … Read more

Guard Against a Victim Mentality

I have been thinking about this for a long time—a little over a year, according to my journal. Basically, I have come to realize that we must all guard against developing a victim mentality! Merriam-Webster defines “victim mentality” as … the belief that one is always a victim : the idea that bad things will … Read more

Life is Fragile!

This post is a little sobering. I drafted it back at the beginning of the pandemic and set it aside. But, I’ve found myself thinking about life, and how fragile it is.  Life has always been fragile. It’s just more noticeable during a pandemic. The truth is, none of us know how much time we … Read more

Say No to the Plateau!

A sense of urgency was drilled into me early on after my stroke. Doctors, nurses, and therapists made sure I knew that time was of the essence in my recovery. While that was certainly true, I remember reading something from a speech therapist that has stuck with me ever since. In November 2017, shortly after … Read more

My First Newsletter Piece for Wehnwood UMC

Grace and peace to all of you! (1 Thessalonians 1:1, CEB) What a crazy time to be in transition, but by God’s grace and power, we will get through this time together! I enjoyed my first Sunday at Wehnwood on July 5, and I look forward to getting to know everyone in the weeks and … Read more

Prayer for United Methodist Clergy in Transition

It’s July 1, the start of a new conference year, and for many, the beginning of a new ministry. Here is my prayer as we begin this journey in the midst of a pandemic. O God, thank you for being with each & every one of us at all times! I am especially struck by the … Read more

My Stroke Recovery

It’s been a couple of years since I wrote about the stroke I had on September 19, 2017, so I thought it was time to share an update on how my recovery is going. At the time of my post (Jan. 2018), we had recently learned I had some “residual AVM” (arteriovenous malformation, or tangled … Read more