Grace and peace to you, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ! My name is Reverend Lynne Humphries-Russ. Before being assigned to Hopewell United Methodist Church (UMC), I served as the pastor at two small UM churches in rural Carroll County, Maryland, after hearing the call to the pastoral ministry. My current appointment is my second one since serving for 22 years at Saint James UMC, West Friendship, MD, as Music Minister. After that prolonged period of service in the music of the Church, God simply said there was more in store for me! I began my career earning a Bachelor of Music with a concentration in Vocal Performance from Carnegie-Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh, with graduate work in Opera Performance at the University of Maryland Opera Studio. I sang professionally for many years, including four performances at the White House and two CDs with an early music ensemble. After moving into the music ministry, I also served as the Administrative Director for a large statewide mental health advocacy organization, the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Health. I left the Coalition to pursue my Master of Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary, completing it in 2017, and was commissioned as a Provisional Elder in the UMC Baltimore Washington Conference in May 2018. Currently, I am pursuing my Doctor of Ministry degree at Wesley Theological Seminary at Cambridge University UK. My husband, Daniel, and I celebrated our 42nd anniversary in June 2018. Dan teaches photography at both Towson University and Carroll Community College while he completes his Master of Fine Arts in Photography at Towson. We are graced with two sons: Ian, who is 36, lives in Dubai with his wife, Jennifer, and works for the Dubai government; and Logan, who is 22 and lives at home while he is completing his undergraduate degree at Towson in Computer Science/Programming. Our home is in Eldersburg in Carroll County with Grace, our yellow Labrador Retriever, and Clover and Button, our cats. For self-care and relaxation, I spend many hours with our pets, watching British mysteries, and in gardening. Gardening and writing are deep and glorious spiritual disciplines for me. Ministry is a gift God has given to me in life. I have come to know myself as a ritual artist, as so much of who I am comes together in the ministry: my love of God and people, my deep need for intellectual search, my love of symbolism and presentation. Added to that is the way in which God speaks to me through music and other arts. God coalesces all of it altogether for the greatest of missions: to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to God’s people so they will have hope in what is to come, promise in the love of God for God’s creation when the deep challenges of life make living so difficult, and know the love of God in their lives. My quest is always to find more and better ways to answer God’s call. I hope I can hone some part of my skills so that the ministries at the churches I serve will be refined and made more effective through the work that I do in concert with the congregations and their gifts. I pinch myself often at the wonder of God asking me to do this important task. And yet, God continues to affirm and call me. Praise God! Blessings to all who read this message.