Guest post by William Merriman, Wesleyan Fellow
NOTE: William Merriman has joined the Christ Church staff as a Wesleyan Fellow. William grew up at Christ Church. He recently graduated from Sewanee and is now pursuing a master of arts in philosophy and apologetics at Asbury-Memphis. As a Wesleyan Fellow, William’s responsibilities are mostly with the Christ Church Young Adults Ministry. He will also assist in Serving & Outreach, formulating cultural apologetic curriculum for the church, and help Senior Pastor Shane Stanford with research and editing.
Jesus once said, “[t]ruly I tell you no prophet is accepted in his hometown” (Luke 4:24). While I do not claim to be a prophet, I find myself in a similar situation to our Lord as I come back to my hometown and home church as a Wesleyan Fellow. I will have the chance to work in and around many aspects of our beloved church while having the opportunity to learn, grow, lead and teach along the way. I am delighted, overjoyed and excited!
However, as previously stated, I am no prophet, just a fellow disciple. All I ask from you is your acceptance, for Christ Church truly is my home. Many of you have seen me around recently, a few of you know me personally and an elite group of you remember me from the beginning, reaching all the way back to my baptism before the Church. On that day, the congregation made an affirming commitment:
With God’s help we will proclaim the good news and live according to the example of Christ.
We will surround these persons with a community of love and forgiveness, that they may grow in their service to others.
We will pray for them, that they may be true disciples who walk in the way that leads to life.
Well, 22 years later, I can definitively say that you all have upheld and honored that commitment—for from elementary Sunday school, to youth group, to receiving intercessory prayer notes while I was away at college, to welcoming me back during the reprieves of summer—you all have showered me with love, encouragement and support. I now come back to you once again not as a prodigal son with my head hanging low, but as a joyful child returning home.