Rev. Jo Dene Romeijn-Stout

Sunrise United Methodist Church in Federal Way, Washington is in a year-long prayer partnership with the Tumaini United Methodist Church, near Ol Kalou, Kenya. The pastor of this church is Pastor Irungu. In our February e-mail conversations, we were asked to pray for the church’s effort in raising money to purchase a motorbike for the Pastor Irungu to use. He walks 30 miles to the church every Sunday.

On the same Sunday that we were praying for the church to be able to purchase a motorbike, our sermon was based on the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Plain from Luke’s Gospel. Here Jesus is turning the world upside down. We who have much are asked to listen to the stories of those who have little, to live our lives with empathy and compassion, and share what we have to make a more equitable world.

I prayed about how God was asking me to respond to this message. What seemed like a foolish idea popped into my mind—that I walk from my house to the church where I serve as pastor. I commute to my church, and the shortest way to get there is 16 miles. I usually drive 18 or 19 miles. After checking out sidewalks, and wide shoulders, I have discovered that the safest way to walk to the church is 19 miles.

My Lenten discipline is to increase my stamina for distance walking. I will be walking from my home near Graham to the Sunrise United Methodist Church in Federal Way on Monday, April 1—a foolish walk for a person with motorized options. But I will be walking this remembering that my brother pastor in Kenya walks farther, with joy as he goes to worship God. I have also invited my congregation to receive a Lenten offering to be sent through a Global Ministries Advance to help purchase motorbikes for pastors in remote areas of Kenya.

May our Joy in this walk, and our gift through the Advance, rise to join with the joy of our prayer partner pastor and church as we praise our God together this Lent.

Rev. Jo Dene Romeijn-Stout serves as pastor with the people of Sunrise United methodist Church in Federal Way, Washington.

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