Skip to main content

what our son's baptism means to me

Wesley, our son, is getting baptized this Sunday at our new church. With our transition this year, we weren't quite sure what to do about this. Wesley was born into a beloved faith community in Anchorage, full of people who gave him love, clothes, diapers and hugs. They supported me during our pregnancy, gave me space and support during maternity leave and helped us transition back to full time work. My administrative staff rocked him when he cried and tickled him during lunch time visits. Two dear friends, spent many early days with him at church while I worked so we could start day care a little later. The people of St. John United Methodist Church loved Wesley before they knew him.

And now, we're getting to know a new church family in Marysville. I think they love Wesley already too. He's crawling and starting to walk around the building. He gets hugs and kisses when he visits at lunch and plays on the playground. Wesley's smile still lights up a room. He knows how to share joy.

Many of you know that both of Wesley's grandfathers are United Methodist pastors. The timing didn't work out as we hoped to have Grandpa Earl be a part of his baptism but we're thankful Papa Dave will be with us on Sunday to baptize Wesley. And I'm looking forward to just being mom for those moments in the service.

On Sunday, we will promise this church to do our best to raise Wesley in a faithful way. We'll teach him about the Bible (how complicated, messy, and wonderful it is). We'll show him how to love others, especially those we don't like. We'll mess up a lot and ask for his forgiveness. We'll give him grace as he figures out life. They are beautiful promises to make. But even better, the church will promise to help us. They'll teach his Sunday School classes, taking him on mission trips, build relationships with him and show him what it means to be the body of Christ together. They will help him claim his identity as a child of God.

And another special group of people will be there to make these promises too. His Grandma Kim, Aunt Lauren, Uncle Ryan, Uncle Rob, cousins Camden and Kylie and of course, his big sister, Isabella.

On the day of Wesley's baptism, this beloved child of ours will not only be baptized into this Washington faith community, he'll be baptized into the body of Christ, which includes his Alaska family and I'm so incredible thankful for their presence in his life.

grace + peace,


Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…