An Open Letter To Dr. James Howell

600832_3828551964210_854904400_nDear Reverend Dr. Howell and the members of Myers Park United Methodist Church.

I retired as a UM pastor on July 1, 2013 (at annual conference). Someone asked my wife, Shirley, and me where we would be going to church? Jokingly, I said for the first month we will be attending the “Church of The Holy Comforter.” Some caught it –  after 40 years of preparing for worship, liturgy, sermons, prayers, etc. for the first month in retirement we were going to pull the comforter up around our neck on Sunday morning.

Well, we didn’t do that. I have subscribed to your podcasts at Myers Park for over a year now, and participated in your worship every week. James, I love your intellect, creativity, cutting edge thinking, and your love for what you do… introduce us to Jesus and help us walk along side him. Shirley and I joked about going to the church of the holy comforter, but we ended up finding Holy Comfort, Godly Challenge, and Spiritual Inspiration as we participated in the worship every Sunday morning at Myers Park via my computer.

I want to take the time to thank the people of Myers Park, clergy and laity alike, for your vision to intentionally reach out to include people all over the world in your worship every Sunday morning. I hope you realize how powerful and far-reaching your worship service really is… it literally reaches around the world.

To all of my friends, Facebook, church, family or otherwise, I invite you to listen to the Reverend Doctor James Howell by podcast each week. Just google Myers Park UMC in Charlotte, NC and subscribe to the podcast of sermons. If not there, go on iTunes, do a search for Myers Park and sign up there. These will come to you on Tuesdays.

For all of my friends who oversee church websites, I invite you to examine the website at Myers Park UMC. All should include what they offer. I remember getting a call one day at church. The person on the other end of the line said: “I saw your web site and I will NOT be coming to your church. You have pictures of events on there from 2009 presented as if they are current (2012). Nothing is up to date – calendars, sermons, bulletins, newsletters.” I don’t know if this person was a website salesperson or not, but he did manage to make me feel bad about our site. It was not touching people like the website at Myers Park does.

Take a trip to Myers Park on the internet. Spend some time walking through their church and mission. Pay particular attention to Jesus speaking and working through that church. And finally, know this – that can be your church website if you will get caught up in intentionally drawing people to the love of Jesus (you proclaim each Sunday) through how you present your love of Jesus through the web-site.

You, too, can become the Church of The Holy Comforter – touching people with the Holy Comfort of God.

Thank you Myers Park. Thank you James.

Grace and Peace


PS: I am not saying stay home and watch James in your PJ’s. I am saying watch his podcast during the week. It will comfort, challenge and inspire you. As it does, bring that inspiration to your own website and mission.

Let me ask for you to respond to this blog by saying where you are as you read this blog or as you watch Dr. Howell’s podcast. Let’s see how far the reach is. Forward to people so that this travels around the world.

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