Greetings in Christ!
It is with great appreciation to the Lord Jesus Christ and His leading in my life that I will begin my journey here at Westville UnitedMethodist Church serving as your pastor.
I would like to take this opportunity to send you a note of thanks for the warm welcome I have already received, and I am looking forward to joyous and fruitful ministry in the years to come.
Just a little information about myself…my name is Toby Guill (pronounced Gill) and I am 48 years old. My wife’s name is Kim, and I’ll just let you ask her how old she is. Together, we have a son named Zachary who is 24 years old and is in the process of discerning his call to ministry. Our home, which is located in Burns Harbor, is rounded out with our two dogs – Gracie and Cooper.
I have a full-time position at Arcelor Mittal Steel in Burns Harbor where I work “shift-work” on the Pickle Line. This type of work schedule keeps me from having what some might call a “normal life”. I, however, vow to make myself available to everyone via phone, text, or email. I’m also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat – (I’m just not very good at using all of them.)
I accepted Jesus as my Savior on July 9, 2008 after a drowning incident at Lake Michigan. I accepted my call to ministry only a couple of years ago and became a Licensed Local Pastor in December of 2018. I have been serving as pastor in Whiting Indiana for the past year and a half. I am currently enrolled in Course of Study classes where I am learning so much about being an effective leader in the church and I anticipate graduating in about nine years. (Don’t order the cake yet.)
I look forward to meeting each one you, if not for the first time – then meeting you again.
I’m super excited!
Pastor Toby Guill
Dear Westville UMC Family,
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for these past two years that we were together. It may not have been a long time that we were together, but there was a lot packed into those two years.
I thank you for welcoming, accepting, and loving me and my family as your family. We were welcomed and we felt right at home the moment we stepped through the doors of this church. The first time Bob and I walked through these doors together was on our 24th Wedding Anniversary when we met with Staff Parish. It was a great anniversary present.
During these two years we shared a lot together. We shared in ministry together. We shared in celebrating the history of this congregation. We shared a whole lot of laughs. We shared our faith with one another. We walked alongside one another. There was much joy. Not to mention, there were a few tears shed, some of joy and some of sorrow. We made new friends and we said goodbye to some old friends along the way as God called them home. I will always cherish the memories that we have made together.
My favorite Bible passage is found in Proverbs 3:5, 6 which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” I don’t know for sure where God is leading me and my family. I have an idea, but I’m still looking for clarity and direction from God Himself. One thing I do know, is that, we can trust in God no matter where He leads us. And you can do the same for your lives, as well.
My calling on my life is not over, it’s just changing direction. I will continue to pray for this awesome family at Westville UMC. I will continue to pray for your new pastor that he/she will feel just as loved and accepted as I was. I look forward to hearing where God is leading you in the near future and beyond. I will miss you! This is not goodbye, it’s ‘til we meet again.
Thank you again from the bottom of my heart!
To God be the glory!
Love & Blessings,
Pastor Cathy Allison
Change: it’s a six—letter word that most of us try to avoid. It’s hard to avoid change when it is all around us. Change in the weather; change in the seasons; change in our plans; change in our circumstances; change in our relationships; and so on and so on. Change is a part of God’s plan for each one of our journeys. That’s why I like to look at life as an adventure. We never know what God has planned for us next.
There are times that we embrace change. At other times, we may be indifferent to change. And then there are those times that we resist change defiantly, as we try to dig our heels in the ground, resisting change all the way. Despite our efforts, change happens anyway.
Our focus is on Lent at this time. Imagine what life would be like if God didn’t send Jesus into the world; or if Jesus refused to fulfill His role. Where would we be right now? Would we live our lives without hope? Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection brought about change; change for the better. John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
We do have one constant in our lives and that is God. God is present throughout all the changes that occur in our lives. God loves us with a never—ending love. A love that surpasses all of our understanding. One of my favorite poems of all time is “Footprints in the Sand.” It tells how God carries us through the most difficult times of our lives and during the easier times of our lives, God walks beside us.
So, when change comes about, don’t slam the door in its face. Take the time to “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently” (Psalm 37:7), and wait to see what God has planned for your journey; for your adventure. Take the time to look at all of God’s creation around you: this includes the people He surrounds you with and this includes nature and anything else that you may see around you. Give thanks for all that God has done; is doing; and will do in your life. Change is part of our journey, but God is always with us!
To God be the glory!
Pastor Cathy Allison
Praying the Psalms
It’s hard to believe that we are going to enter the Lenten Season soon. What do you normally do during the Lenten Season? Do you fast? Do you pray? Do you give something up for Lent? Do you reach out to others? Or, is it just like any other time of year?
For many years, when I was growing up and well into my early 30’s, I always gave something up for Lent. Along with giving something up, I also gave up eating between meals and I didn’t eat meat on Fridays and on Ash Wednesday.
I was told that it was supposed to make me more aware of Jesus’ presence in my life. I have to be honest, I think it made me focus more on not being able to eat meat on certain days during Lent and I was more focused on not eating between meals. I don’t think I actually focused more on Jesus. For those reasons alone, I dreaded the Lenten Season.
I have a new appreciation for this season now. I quit depriving myself of meat and snacks. It’s something that never worked for me. If that is something that works for you, then do what works for you. I truly give you kudos.
During Lent, I try to find new ways of connecting more with Jesus. It’s the least I can do when I think about all that Jesus gave up for me. This year I prayed about what we could do differently during this time, and I came up with “Praying the Psalms.” I personally would like to delve deeper into Scripture. I invite you to join me. It’s not difficult. It’s not something that you have to add to your “To-Do List.”
I have chosen four psalms for each week during Lent except for the last week of Lent. During that last week, I would like for you to focus on your favorite Psalms. For more information, I have included the information sheet in this newsletter for “Praying the Psalms” during Lent.
You may do this completely on your own. There’s no pressure. If you don’t want to do this completely on your own, I would like to invite you to join me on Wednesday evenings starting March 13th at 6:30p.m. in the Founder’s Room at church. Let’s discuss the Psalms together.
Jesus says in Matthew 18:20 (NRSV): “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
Too God be the Glory! Pastor Cathy Allison