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Tenth Street UMC

Sunday, September 5th, I had the joy and pleasure of sharing with the congregation of Tenth Street UMC in Taylor, Texas.  Our celebration focused on the 110th anniversary of this wonderful Swedish Methodist Church.  Originally the Taylor Swedish Methodist Church, a mission of the Methodist Episcopal Church (North), Tenth Street reached out to a new generation of immigrants as a distinctly ethnic church.  Worship Services were held in Swedish into the 1930s.  As Ed Komandosky and Pastor Travis Summerlin greeted the various returning guests and family members in the service, I caught this rich sense of faithfulness that has been a part of Tenth Street for the past 110 years.  I could feel the essence of Hebrews 12: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and prefecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2a)             There are powerful lessons that can inform us from the faithfulness of Tenth Street’s history.  Tenth Street UMC is every bit as much an ethnic church as our predominately ethnic churches of today.  It is an immigrant church, every bit as much as new outreach churches among Hispanics are today.  In the gratefulness handed on from generation to generation the mission remains the same but the context changes.  The mission then and now comes out of Matthew 28:16-20.  We are to make disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.  The context has dramatically changed.  The community is not longer a Swedish language enclave.  The challenge of today’s ministry is can they - can we! - reach a new generation for Christ?             I suspect that a significant part of the answer lies in studying the lessons of the past from the “Tenth Street” UMCs of today and applying them to the new future God has in store for us.  It is an exciting future, a time of great opportunity; it is also a time of letting go.  There is a sense of real loss of the great heritage of Tenth Street.  Clinging to the past will not work.  Celebrating and learning from the past will provide powerful lessons for the new future God is leading us to!  I am thankful for the time shared with Tenth Street! Truly the Holy Spirit is at work and the greatest days of the church lie in the future!