This originally appeared in the Wingate United Methodist Church newsletter for July, 2015.
This month we welcome our newly appointed minister, Rev. CherLue Vang (he prefers to be called “Lue”) and his wife, Mang, and begin a new chapter in the story of Wingate UMC as we work together in our mission to follow Jesus, make disciples, and transform the world. The good relationships we form now, not only with our new pastor, but also with Smyrna UMC, as we partner and share in the newly formed Smyrna-Wingate Charge, will have a last-ing effect on how well we are able to do God’s work in our communities.
We can expect great things from all involved, because though change can be hard to do, I am sure that the Lord has led us to these new relationships, by virtue of the prayer involved from the Bishop all the way down to the local Pastor Parish Relations Committees, and by the fact that those who truly seek God’s guidance will never be disappointed.
While we have great expectations, we must remember not to be too unrealistic with them. A humorous list, supposedly prepared by congregations about the “perfect pastor” in-cludes items like: He preaches exactly 10 minutes, condemns sin roundly but never hurts any-one’s feelings; He is 29 years old and has 40 years experience; he makes 15 home visits a day and is always in his office to be handy when needed. I wonder if ministers have ever come up with an equally outlandish list of what a “perfect congregation” should do.
Pastor Lue comes to us with a unique perspective based on the background of both his life and faith journey. Some of this he has already shared with the PPR members and church leaders. Culturally, he is of the Hmong peoples who live in the mountainous regions of Cambo-dia, Laos and Vietnam. His own father died before he was born in Laos, and when his mother remarried it was to a Christian man who helped start him on the path that has led him here. Be-cause the Hmong befriended and helped U.S. soldiers during the Vietnam War, those peoples suffered persecution after its end. So Lue and his family came to the United States as a part of a refugee group sponsored here by a Lutheran church in Illinois. His history with The United Methodist Church began in 1979 with his Pastoral Certification, and he transferred from the Northern New Jersey Conference to the Western North Carolina Conference in 1992. Since then he has served both multi-church charges, and single churches, as well as spending three years in Thailand as a GBGM Missionary. He and wife Mang had five sons, one of whom passed into Heaven in 2010. The other four are grown and live in many parts of the country.
The biography I just offered is miniscule, and I suspect that many of you are as eager as I am to learn more from Pastor Lue himself. He will reveal more of himself, as we will reveal ourselves to him, in the same way that Jesus and the twelve disciples did –by journeying with faith together, and doing the work of spreading God’s love in this world. Since this has been prayerfully arranged by the Lord, we should be expect nothing less than His great blessings on all.
~ Susan Hendrix
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