By Pastor Mike Gillen, Bowling Green First, Eolia, and Oak Grove UMC
This is the last article I’ll write for the Bowling Green Times as the pastor of Bowling Green First, Eolia, and Oak Grove United Methodist Churches. Our bishop is moving me to a church in O’Fallon in another week. So I’d like to take this chance to say thanks for the five and a half years I’ve had serving in this community.
First, I’d like to thank the churches I serve. The people of Bowling Green First, Eolia, and Oak Grove churches have been wonderful to me. Ministers often talk about the first phase of a new ministry being like a honeymoon. Usually, the pastor gets a honeymoon to last six months to a year and a half with a new church. I’ve had a five and a half year honeymoon with the churches I’ve served here.
Second, I’m thankful for the other ministers in the community who have served shoulder to shoulder with me. This is a unique place where different kinds of Christian ministers put aside differences in order to focus on a common faith and common Savior. I appreciate and will miss the pastors of the Bowling Green community.
Third, I want to thank the people of Bowling Green and the surrounding area for inviting me into your lives. My children were with me the other day. We were getting ready to go to lunch. One child said, “Well, Dad, who are we going to see today that you know?” My children were impressed that people in Bowling Green recognized me and were willing to admit they knew me.
One of the great strengths of this community is the friendship you offer to one another. You’ve been my friends. And I’ve been blessed by your kindness and willingness to minister to one another.
There are two community ministry organizations that demonstrate the good character of this town. I’ve always been impressed by the Hope Center and those who lead and volunteer there. It’s a great cooperative effort supported by so many churches and faithful Christians.
I’m also inspired by an organization close to me heart—Every Child Every Day—which provides food to every child in need in the Bowling Green School District. I’m so proud of the churches and faithful individuals who support this effort to make sure kids in this community have enough to eat.
In Matthew 25 Jesus says that the kingdom of heaven will be inherited by those who feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give drink to the thirsty, care for the sick, and visit the imprisoned. Christian charity extends from a willingness to follow the Christ who gives of himself so that humanity might be saved.
I have found in the Christian people of Bowling Green and the surrounding area a willingness to try and do what Christ says. Thank you for inspiring me to a greater faith. May God bless Bowling Green and Pike County.