02 Dec On the Road with Bishop Whipple
At the end of October and into November, I spent several weeks in Pennsylvania.
On October 31, I spoke at Zion United African Church, the UB church in Philadelphia where Joe Abu is the pastor. That was an interesting and fun experience. They had dubbed it as sort of a rally day. Some other ethnic churches in the area came over. The building was packed–and it’s quite a large building—with what I guessed to be several hundred people.
They had special African garb for me to wear. They warned me that there would be dancing. I’ve been to Mozambique, in Africa. The shuffle common in Mozambique was the same that the folks from Sierra Leone do. It was a very fun experience.
I spoke at Franklintown UB church (Franklintown, Pa.) on November 7, and then at Prince Street Church (Shippensburg, Pa.) on November 14.
About 35 pastors attended the Mid-Atlantic Resource Day, held November 7-8 at Rhodes Grove Camp in Chambersburg, Pa.
I saw a lot of pastors and had some very productive conversations. I sensed that pastors were thankful to see me on their terms, at their place, to hear their heart and see their ministry. In the past, annual conferences were the connection bishops had with pastors. The National Conference is a great experience, but it’s not conducive to meeting people beyond a handshake. Part of the need of the bishop’s office is to get out and meet our pastors on their turf. It’s helpful to speak to them when there is not a problem, to get acquainted when things are going well.
I’ve now been in 105 churches since taking this position. I’ll visit the Pixley UB church in California in January, and visit the Florida churches later. During the summer, Sandy and I took a 26-day tour through the west and visited 11 churches. By comparison, I saw more churches during my two weeks in Pennsylvania in a much shorter span of time. My hope is to have been in every UB church in the United States by National Conference in July 2011. I think it’s doable.