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He has been 42 months in the making… On August 7 a few minutes after 2am Henry Lawrence Berry Carnes came into this world healthy and happy.  He weighed in at 7 lbs 1oz and is long… 21 & 1/4 inches.

I am overwhelmed by experience of these past few days.  One can be mostly prepared for the child birthing experience: reading books, going to classes, planning as a couple.  On the other hand there is no preparation for the emotional experience of first holding your own child.  It’s only been a few days but I think I love this little boy more everyday than the day before.

Carrie is on maternity leave right now and after her eight weeks of leave I will go on paternity leave.  We are both soaking up every minute we can with this little guy before he has to start daycare in mid-November.  We both want to say thank you to our churches for being flexible in planning our maternity/paternity leaves.  We are so blessed to have these amazing churches.

Summer Camp

It has been three years since I last volunteered at church camp (I took a three year hiatus while I worked on my doctor of ministry three weeks each summer).  It was an amazing week.  Nicole Cox said it this way:

“Another year of AIR camp behind us. And we are all richer for it. Oh I am so grateful for the ways God has changed our hearts this week. I’m grateful for the relationships that deepened. I’m grateful for moments to laugh uncontrollably and to weep without shame. I’m grateful for experiencing the fullness of being in God’s creation. I’m grateful for a place to experience healing and renewal in my heart and spirit. What an amazing week. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: God lives at Little Grassy. I never feel the Spirit like I do in that place.”

June 22 facebook post by Nicole Cox
A Trip to Scotland

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Is the world ready for ANOTHER Carnes???

Carrie and I are pleased to announce that we are (okay, she is) fourteen weeks pregnant.  If all goes well, we will welcome our firstborn child into this world in July.  Like most expectant parents, I imagine, we are apprehensive as we have loved our freedom and our life together, but we are also excited for the experiences ahead.  We have been aunt Carrie and uncle Scott for several years, now, and we have been foster parents to an amazing young lady, and now we endeavor upon a new adventure, together.

Braving the Wilderness  |  Book Recommendation

In one episode of the sitcom Modern Family we discover Phil & Claire Dunphy in the middle of a big disagreement.  Throughout the episode Phil is trying to figure out what he did wrong to make her angry.  As he bumbles through the episode we find that Phil has made all kinds of missteps…but none of them are the offense for which he is paying dearly.  Then we make the discovery that Phil came the day before after a lunch with an ex-girlfriend.  His ex suggested the wedge salad and he tried it.  He couldn’t get over the wedge salad.  He had gone on-and-on with Claire about how much he LOVES wedge salads and can’t believe that he’d never had one before.

Claire is angry not over any of the obvious mistakes Phil has made.  Through a series of flashbacks we see that Claire had recommended wedge salads time-and-time again.  Claire is angry because he never listens to her and doesn’t seem to trust her suggestions.  My wife and I often refer to the Modern Family wedge salad when we act in the same way.

Brene Brown’s book, Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone, is a wedge salad.  My wife talked incessantly about this book and applied Brown’s teachings to everything.  Perhaps out of stubbornness– maybe out of laziness– I ignored her glowing affirmations until I finally picked up the book last week.  It is remarkable.  She weaves together government, politics, personal struggles and the growing sense of personal loneliness and civic divisions.  She offers us a way to reconceptualize our place in our family, social group, culture, religion, and nation.  It is an empowering book that I hope all of my congregation, family and friends will consider.

Happy Holidays!

This isn’t exactly a traditional “Christmas letter,” but with such a long silence on our family blog I thought it time to share an update and wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

This has been a tumultuous year for the Carnes family.  We have moved to a new city and both have new jobs.  We sold our beloved home and left our former churches in the capable hands of other United Methodist pastors.  Whew.  Hard…but also exciting!

  

We were fortunate that in a difficult economy our home sold quickly (despite the water main breaking right in front of the house) and we still consider ourselves incredibly lucky to have had some really great neighbors in that neighborhood!

I did a lot of the packing, of course, but the actual move and the initial unpacking and setting up of our new home was on Carrie.  You can see that she had her work cut out for her when the movers left that day.  I was off in Chicago working on my final summer residency for my Doctor of Ministry.

My doctor of ministry is in preaching so my preaching each Sunday is part of my education and my education is affecting my preaching in very real ways.  I’m loving it!  When I got back from school I was in my first Sunday in my new congregation, Collinsville First United Methodist Church.  Carrie had already started the previous Sunday in her congregation at “Journey” a church start of Belleville Union UMC.  Carrie is appointed by the bishop to be the associate at Belleville Union, but she seldom works in Belleville.  Her primary work is in Freeburg, IL at Journey.

The Collinsville Church provides a parsonage in which we live.  We appreciate their hospitality and we are constantly working to make it ‘our own’ and when that involves painting…we thank the trustees for being so accommodating! 🙂

One way that the church showed hospitality and generosity, both, was partnering with us to put in a fence for our dogs.  As you can see from the picture of Jack, above, the dogs are loving it.  While we miss our former communities, friends, and congregations, we have found new places of love and support.  Also, being in the Saint Louis area allows us to be near to Carrie’s family.  We’ve been able to participate in family events and be with our nephew.

It was also fun to be near the total eclipse and we were fortunate to be able to go down to the lake and go out in the boat for the eclipse with other family and friends.  One of the highlights for Carrie was our purchase of half a hog.  Not only did we get the traditional cuts of meat, but she got some of the organs and she is excited to experiment with the hog head.  I have to say…I don’t know.

Lastly, we both had the opportunity to go to a preaching event at Garrett-Evangelical in Evanston in November.  We enjoyed an evening in Chicago before it began and immensely enjoyed it.  I think that is just about all that is fit for print.  We are preparing for the holidays and look forward to our time with both sides of the family over the next few weeks!

A Time of Transition

Three years ago we bought a home in Peoria and began new ministries: Carrie in Peoria and Scott in Hudson.  We were welcomed into those congregations and we have loved them, both.  It is with deeply conflicted emotions, therefore, that we share some news with our congregations, communities, family, and friends.

Bishop Frank Beard has prayerfully discerned that we will both be reappointed to new churches beginning July 1, 2017.  We will move to Collinsville, Illinois where Scott will serve as the pastor at First United Methodist Church and Carrie will be leading The Journey, a new church start of Belleville Union United Methodist Church.  She will be the associate pastor of Union United Methodist Church in Belleville primarily to be the pastor of the Journey in Freeburg.

We will be pleased to be so near to Carrie’s family in Saint Louis and we are fortunate to be a bit closer to Scott’s family in Pittsfield, but we have never been far from family and the drive has always been worth it…to do great ministry with amazing people.  Other the past seven years we have been in loving congregations doing vital ministry wherever the bishop has sent us.

Our hearts will break to say goodbye to our congregations in June.  We must pack our home and move to a new community and, certainly, we leave things behind: our hearts, prayers, and the fruits of labor (born of us and our current churches).  Though, we will also take some things with us: We take the love of our congregations, the lessons learned, and the experiences gained.  Most importantly, though, we take cherished memories and Christ-filled hearts

We mourn our losses and treasure our past experiences, but we also look forward to the ministry that lies ahead.  We know that wonderful people and experiences await us in Collinsville and Freeburg/Belleville.

Why do United Methodist pastors move?

We realize that lots of questions arise when news of pastoral moves come up.  First of all, whether you are in one of our churches or any other United Methodist Church, feel free to sit down with your pastor to learn more about why we do this and the benefits of our system.  In the meantime, click here to learn more about where this strange practice comes from and how it works.

House Renovations

We’ve had to do some work on the house, lately.  It’s one of those things that snuck up on us.  Since we moved in three years ago, we’ve intended to get the front steps tiled to match the porch.  Soon after we moved in a pipe leaked into the basement and we had to tear out a wall so the plumbers could properly fix it.  That wall has been torn up ever since.  Some plaster cracked in the bedroom and we needed to get it repaired.  We waited too long and the crack became too big to do a simple repair.  We looked around and realized that all these small jobs had turned into a huge job.  So we called a handy man and dug deep into the wallet.

Our relationships are like this.  Maybe a person gets angry and yells at their spouse, but if we talk about our feelings…process what happened…then that “small crack in the plaster” can easily be fixed.  Maybe a person really messes up and breaks trust with a parent or child.  They say that they will pick them up or take care of them, but, then, the person forgets or chooses not to. It’s like the basement wall, though: If we get in and repair it correctly…and rebuild trust right away, we can get back to enjoying life and it may not have to cost us so much.

With any relationship issues: ignoring the problem is not a good option.  The longer we ignore the problem, the bigger the problem becomes.  Sometimes, when we don’t properly talk through our smaller problems the relationship breaks down and soon it is far too expensive to repair.

With our house, I think we caught it in time.  We had to use quite a bit of savings, but our house is nearly all fixed up: even better than when we moved in.  If you have a relationship that has broken down, don’t wait any longer.  Get to work fixing the pain and begin the process of rebuilding trust.  I think you will find that it is worth the risk, time and expense!