February 12, 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Chatham United Methodist Church,

As you are aware, my Ordination as Elder in The United Methodist Church unites me with other United Methodist pastors in a covenant community whose calling first and foremost is to serve God and Christ in the world. The covenant also calls us to serve Christ and the world where we are sent. United Methodist pastors are always prepared to itinerate as the Holy Spirit, working through our Bishop and Cabinet of our Annual Conference, directs.

The purpose of this letter is to share with you that Bishop Frank Beard has recently appointed me to serve as senior pastor of Bloomington Wesley United Methodist Church in the Vermillion River District, beginning July 1, 2018. My family and I will be moving to Bloomington, Illinois, where I will continue the ministry of Christ in a new setting and with a new congregation of United Methodists. I am, of course, still processing my own emotions about this move… emotions which range from excitement as I anticipate this new adventure, to the fear and trembling one feels in the face of a new challenge, to the enormous pain and grief that always comes when we must leave the people and place we’ve all come to call home.

We have ample time to prepare for the changes ahead, which will naturally include a new pastoral appointment to Chatham United Methodist Church. I want to assure you that United Methodism has a process in place to make such transitions go smoothly.  Our Superintendent, Sylvester Weatherall, will be meeting with our Staff-Parish Relations Committee to hear the church’s hopes, needs, and concerns for future leadership. I also want to assure you that even as we prepare to receive new pastoral leadership, the present needs and goals of our Christian community will continue to be important and addressed.

In the midst of chaos and change, one thing remains the same: Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is at the helm of this ship we call the church. He is able to lead us safely through storms into calmer seas and to get us where we need to go. Let us all lean into him for our direction and care in this time of change.

Your Servant,



Sara L. Isbell

Our Mission: To transform lives and grow disciples for Jesus Christ

Our Vision: Creating a welcome, open environment where all people can come to know and experience God, grow in Christ, serve him freely, and minister to people in our community and world.

Statement of Purpose: Chatham UMC is called to be a “Matthew 25” congregation for our community: to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, visit the sick and lonely – and in so doing, to share the good news of Christ’s love with our neighbors.

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104 West Chestnut Street, Chatham IL  62629
217-483-2132  ·  Email church


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