ED CARLL

From the heart, soul and mind of Pastor Ed
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Sustaining Members

November 2017
steinway piano

Both of my favorite stations, now in their last days of fund-raising, have encouraged folks to become “sustaining members” and to re-up their pledges. A sustaining member pledges consistently, as little as $10/week or month or up to $200/week or month, usually scheduling a “set it and forget it” feature of their bank account, as most of us do these days. Once it is all set up, the money comes in to the station consistently and the person pledging doesn’t have to be concerned with writing checks and sending them in. It’s easy to become a sustaining member… and show your support in this way!


I thought to myself… Gabriele and I, along with so many families in parishes where we have served, have been “sustaining members” in each of the 5 congregations we have served these past 38 years…


When we started in full-time ministry in 1980, we traded Gabriele’s full-time teacher’s salary ($10,400) for my full-time pastor’s salary ($10,500). With our first child, Christopher, on the way during that year, it took $3,500 of our total income to pay tuition for my Master of Divinity graduate studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. That left $6,500/year to live on. We committed a 10% tithe of our total income to the churches we were serving… and that left us about $5,500 to live on for the year. We made a conscientious decision, and with our priorities in place, and it didn’t become a source of family-related financial stress!


When we started in full-time ministry in 1980, we traded Gabriele’s full-time teacher’s salary ($10,400) for my full-time pastor’s salary ($10,500). With our first child, Christopher, on the way during that year, it took $3,500 of our total income to pay tuition for my Master of Divinity graduate studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. That left $6,500/year to live on. We committed a 10% tithe of our total income to the churches we were serving… and that left us about $5,500 to live on for the year. We made a conscientious decision, and with our priorities in place, and it didn’t become a source of family-related financial stress!


It feels CRAZY in today’s economic environment, to think back to what we did… and the commitment we made to tithe 10% in order to be “sustaining members” of each and every church we have served.


What is not crazy is that this way of living as “sustaining members” all these years, always committing 10% of our family income to support and build up the church, has felt extremely satisfying! It has been part of our spiritual discipline, even though it has presented us with financial challenges at many points along the way, particularly when our son was attending NYU – (yikes)!


Rather than feeling crazy or somehow short-changed for having lived this way, we feel a sense of deep accomplishment for having made this commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ! It has felt great to invest in community-building! It has felt great to experience the excitement of developing the personal, spiritual discipline necessary to place other personal wants aside for the larger sake of the Church community, and it’s exciting ministries and mission in the world.


So, here it is: my last bit of encouragement, as we anticipate Consecration Sunday, November 19th. Become a sustaining member here at DCC, by committing a pledge of your annual income to the exciting mission and ministries of Denville Community Church!


This fall, the staffing challenge on which Staff Parish Relations Committee has focused (and is quite excited about) is this: we have developed plans for expanding our worship life and music ministries by increasing the involvement of YoungKwang in our ministries! Having helped provide funds to sponsor his change of Immigration status to R-1 (transitioning from a student visa to a religious worker status); we now have committed to exciting plans to add additional work hours, adding additional money to the 2018 budget to support it.


We are taking YoungKwang’s vision for DCC seriously. We have embraced his vision, with plans underway, for an additional worship service. It will be an alternative to our current, fairly traditional order and style of worship, and will provide an additional option for growing our worship life in new directions. Your sustaining membership will help make it happen!


We are also encouraged by the depth of spirituality that Janice McCrostie has brought to the congregation over these past 3+ years… and your sustaining member commitment assures that our present life-together will be brighter and hopeful, supporting the young people who add so much zest and vitality to what we do!


In a musician’s world, a basic musical notation everyone learns is: “sostenuto”, sustaining the note
adjective 1. (of a passage of music) to be played in a sustained or prolonged manner.

Part of a healthy 2018 here at DCC, will include sustenuto… all of us sustaining the ministries which are important in our life-together, and our combined financial commitment to mission in a prolonged manner.


Become a sustaining member of DCC!

On November 19th, Consecration Sunday, commit to adding your giving to the hundreds of others who love this congregation and support it in ways that deepen and broaden our influ-ence in the world, all for the sake of Jesus Christ!


Pastor Ed

“When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!”

September 2017
fork in the road

(Yes, I already used this idea when I sent out my last letter to you!)


Yogi Berra, the famed NY Yankee and his long-time friend of Joe Garagiola, then on the NY Giants, was giving Joe directions from New York to his house in Montclair when he said this: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”


Yogi was a catcher, manager, and coach who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, most of them with the NY Yankees. He was an 18-time All Star and won 10 World Series championships as a player - more than any other player in MLB history. His batting average was .285, while hitting 358 home runs and 1,430 RBIs. This Hall of Famer (1972) is widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history.


My affinity with Yogi is a childhood love for baseball and catching. He also tickles my funny-bone with his down-to-earth, humorous ways of saying things…(while butchering the English language); so, here is some vintage Yogi Berra:


“It ain’t over til it’s over”

“The future ain’t what it used to be”

“If you don’t know where you’re goin’, you might end up somewhere else”

“If people don’t want to come to the ballpark, nobody’s going to stop them”

“Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded!”

“It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility!”

“You should always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.”

(of the ’73 Mets) “ We were overwhelming underdogs”


I briefly considered doing a whole sermon-series this summer on life in the Church, based on these Yogi-quotes, but instead I’ll use them as a basis for my September newsletter article.


“When you get to a fork in the road, take it!”

Having served in the pastoral ministry for over 37 years, I have come to a fork in the road… and I am going to take it! Most of you know by now that at the end of June 2018, I am planning on retiring from my service to the United Methodist Church.


When I try to come up with the right words to express my decision… 2 (or 3) come to mind.


"It's time."

Recognizing that the past few years have been extremely draining emotionally within our family, with the death of both Gabriele’s mother and father, I feel strongly that it is time to recharge in retirement with Gabriele while we both have health and vitality. It’s also about retiring from pastoral ministry while I am at 100% and “still firing on all cylinders”.


These 37+ years of service to the UM Church have been challenging, energizing, painful, joyous, creative, sometimes draining, most-times deeply fulfilling. It has been a privilege to serve churches within the Greater NJ area all these years, and we have friends that will be with us for the rest of our lives. To be able to enter into the most meaningful times in the lives of individuals and families, at baptisms, weddings, and funerals is a privilege only clergy experience. To work through difficulties in families, visit in hospitals, get special invitations to attend birthday parties for little children, enter into relationships in the community, e.g. Joey Bella Fund, Denville Foundation Fundraisers, consulting with the Business Administrator and other clergy on dispensing the $750,000 to victims of flooding, being a chaplain for the Fire Department, offering spiritual support to the Denville School District… these are all privileges that have come because I have been a pastor all these years.


Gabriele has been right alongside me the whole time! In addition to supporting me through thick and thin, she has followed her own calling to engage in ministries, too. Prayer Shawl ministries, Youth ministry leadership, Vacation Bible School director for years, playing in bell choirs and singing with the sanctuary choirs, offering leadership for reading groups and book clubs, organizing gardening and beautification projects, decorating parsonages, participating in the mission of United Methodist Women’s ministry, Secret Prayer Sisters, Bridges and ASP… these are a few of the many, many ministries to which she has whole-heartedly responded to God’s calling in her life. Over the course of our partnership for 41 years of marriage, all of which we have been engaged with some form of ministry, she has been the primary source of support and love for me.


Yogi also said: “It ain’t over til it’s over!”


In many ways, the main-line Church in America, including the United Methodist Church, is a group of “overwhelming underdogs”, as Yogi said of the ’93 Mets baseball team. We are often out-paced by non-denominational congregations meeting in storefronts, movie theatres, high school gym-atoriums, and brand-new mini-mall structures. But there is a critical mass here at DCC to engage the work of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, which is in great need of healing and wholeness; and I am deeply appreciative of the dreams we dream and the work we accomplish!


In the coming year, I will remain deeply committed, along with you, to our mission and purpose: “To be an enthusiastic community of God’s love in action… Empowered by the Holy Spirit and guided by the teachings of Jesus Christ, we seek to share this love in response to human needs, hurts, and hopes”.

I am completely convinced, after much discernment, and conversation with Gabriele, that it’s time for my retirement, to finish strong and leave the congregation healthy and eager to discover what God has in store…


I see the fork in the road, and I am going to take it!

Deep peace pure blue of the summer skies to you… Pastor Ed