by Rev. Kerry Smith

I have been a pastor for 25 years. In that time, the longest time off I have taken was in 2017 when I took 3 weeks off in a row to go on a family trip to Europe. Last fall I recognized in myself that I was tired, really tired. I had never had that feeling before.  I talked to Rev. Tom Palmer to explore what it would look like if I took off all of July. Tom was incredibly supportive and encouraging. I talked to Gary McNeil, Chair of our Leadership Board, and he was also supportive and encouraging.

There are always more tasks to be done at a church.

A wise person at White Rock asked me if White Rock was any different than any other church where I have been the Senior Pastor. There are more building demands at White Rock, air conditioning and the elevator to name just two. There is the unique aspect of building relationships with Community Partners at White Rock and Owenwood Farm and Neighbor Space is an additional (but joyful) responsibility as well. I’m so thankful for all of the leaders at White Rock and Owenwood. I’m thankful for everyone who works so hard to make a difference in this community for God.

I’m deeply thankful for the holy work God has called me to, and I want to renew that call. At first I had no plans for July, but then the Holy Spirit got busy. My mom invited my sister and I on a trip to Maine to see some of our relatives. I’ve never been to Maine! Then, a new person to White Rock, Sara, asked to get together for coffee. Turns out she works with a nonprofit that provides renewal for women in ministry (Go Holy Spirit!). Sara said if I could get myself to Croatia in July, all costs were covered by the nonprofit, Come Before Winter ( So, I get home, put flights to Croatia in my computer and find out flights were $600 cheaper than normal (Go Holy Spirit!).  So, that is my plan for July.

Rev. Tom Palmer will be your pastoral leader for July. His email is

Please be in prayer for me, for the staff and congregation of White Rock UMC, and for our community that we may continue to grow and make a difference in this place.

I am so deeply grateful for each and every one of you. 

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