I remember the call I received in the spring of 1997 from Mississippi River District Superintendent Jim Rhea on behalf of Illinois Great Rivers Conference Bishop Sharon A. Brown Christopher. I was informed that I would be moved from the Sumner/Beulah Charge in Lawrence County to the recently relocated Christ United Methodist Church in Fairview Heights on July 1. “Shane, your pastoral work has not gone unnoticed. You are in a town of 1,200 (they didn’t even have a Casey’s back then) and are preaching to 400 folks every Sunday! You have done so well that we are sending you to a congregation half the size of Sumner/Beulah, dropping their salary $10,000 and even though it costs a lot more to live there, we believe you are the person to lead the church into the future!” I responded, “And Jim, this is good?” It was good.
-Rev. Shane L. Bishop is the Senior Pastor of Christ Church in Fairview Heights, Illinois and the author of “Exactly as I Remember it.”