by Chris Hyde, Staff Parish Relations Chairperson, Lighthouse United Methodist Church of Boca Grande
When I think of Matthew, a favorite saying of his enters my mind. It’s one you will come to fondly associate with him: “God loves you and so do I!”
When Matthew first came to our church, we really needed to hear these words. They have never gotten old or cliché. Because when Matthew speaks, it comes from his heart. Matthew knows God’s love is inclusive of all and that nothing can separate us from it.
Inside this unassuming man is a powerhouse, full of wisdom beyond his years, full of passion for Christ. He is a man who feels deeply, cares deeply, and lives out his faith and love for God. He is passionate about missions, has promoted them in our church, and helped our congregation reach out to receive the light, be the light, and share the light of Jesus Christ.
But don’t be fooled into thinking he’s a goody-two-shoes! Matthew is a regular guy. The kind everyone wants to get to know and spend time with. He is a stellar husband and father and will always put family first. He loves to fish, wander in the mountains, and attend music festivals.
And every now and then, if you are really blessed, you will hear him sing. He and Joy have the most beautiful voices. He truly knows how to integrate powerful music into a worship service. Yet he is wise enough not to overstep his bounds. His sermons will have you spellbound, and you will learn that the Florida Conference is fortunate to have some very special pastors—not just yours who is retiring, but now the one who you soon will be blessed to call “yours.” Please treat him well. He and his family are very special, and although I am devastated to see him go, I am thrilled for you and Matthew and Joy and Ethan that you will be starting this new exciting spiritual journey together. God loves you and so do I!