Stone Column | April 2023

This was not how anyone planned it. I’m not the first, nor will I be the last person to have things go in an unanticipated and unwanted direction. It was a little over four months ago when I learned that I had stage four bile duct cancer, plans changed. I gain no comfort from the lyrics made famous by my revolving relatives from across the pond, “you can’t always get what you want…you get what you need.”
Hopes and visions for pastoral ministry here at First Church were abruptly interrupted. Personal hopes and dreams with family, friends and community are now unclear. The language of lament is substantial. Amid grief, I remain hopeful, but I am also realistic. I have hope for a measure of healing and wholeness, but I am cognizant of my terminal diagnosis. I will strive for quality of life for as long as I am able. I am grateful for the many people on this journey with me – praying for me and my family. The love shown to us from near and far has been overwhelming.
This was not how anyone planned it. There are those with a theological persuasion far different from my own who have opined that it’s all part of God’s plan. If that is true, I don’t want to have anything to do with this capricious god. Rather, I will continue to give thanks to a God of extravagant love and grace. I will follow in the way of a God who offers hope and healing even in the midst of the malignancies of life.
Our journey together is changing – in a way it is coming full circle. I began my journey of faith as a child – one of the many ministers – of Adrian First United Methodist Church. You nurtured that faith in my childhood and youth and sent me out as one who responded to a call to ordained ministry. I returned years later as your pastor for a short time. On May 1st, I will no longer be your pastor, I return to being a minister alongside you.
Peace & Blessings,
Rev. Eric A. Stone

Stone Column


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