First & Christ UMC Chestertown

At the Corners of High & Mill Street

Pastor

Pastor Herb Cain will be on vacation until January 2. During this time, please contact Reverend Karen Dize at 410-708-4184 with any pastoral emergencies.

Pastor Herb was appointed to First UMC and Christ UMC on July 1, 2022. He and his wife, Franny, are both Kent County natives with family connections and strong ties to this community and the surrounding area. Having served several churches on the eastern shore of Maryland, since 2010, coming to Chestertown feels much like a homecoming to Herb and Franny.

Words from the Pastor

Church Family and friends,

We have been worshiping together now for two months… how does it feel?  I know that is a loaded question, but one of the fun things about being a preacher is you get to ask difficult questions. 

It seems that people are starting to talk to each other more before and after worship, and everyone seems comfortable participating in worship together.  This is positive progress, and I am thankful.  But the area in which I’m not seeing any movement is in the visioning process – who is God calling us to be together, how can we connect with our community together, and how can we reach more people for Christ together?  Again, I’m the preacher, I’m supposed to ask questions that make us uncomfortable.  This business of becoming one church has definitely drawn our gaze inward… and maybe that is to be expected.  But when we look at ourselves what do we see?  Two groups of people – US and THEM, Christ church people and First church people?  Or do we see ourselves as one body in Christ?

How we answer these questions… regardless of the legal steps and the organizational restructuring that will be taking place in the months to come… will be the most important factor in determining the future course of our church.  I plead with you all, please do not squander the opportunity that is before you now.  Do not cut corners or take any shortcuts.  Some people equate prayer with inaction, but bathing this merger process in prayer and seeking God’s will and purposes will be the most important action step in determining the future survival and success of our church.

I’ve only been here for a year, so maybe my words don’t carry much weight.  The apostle Paul, on the other hand, has a great deal of credibility and clout, so I will share his pleading with you. 

In 49 CE, the emperor Claudius expelled all the Jews from Rome, which left the leadership responsibilities of the church to fall on the Gentile Christians.  A few years later, the Jews returned to Rome and then the trouble started.  The Jews looked down on the Gentiles because Jesus was a Jew, and the Christian faith came out of Judaism.  The Gentiles viewed themselves as being chosen by God because most of the Jewish people rejected Jesus as the Messiah.  We are not the first Christians to go down the road of US versus THEM. 

This is what Paul had to say to the early Roman church and to us… Do not conform to the pattern of this world, (division, competition, and animosity are ways of the world NOT the way of Christ) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2 NIV). 

Somehow (through lots of prayer!) we must change our thinking and start focusing on what God wants for us as Christ’s church rather than focusing on what we want for our church… and then (and only then) will we see true transformation take place in OUR new church.

Blessings,

Pastor Herb