December 2017  
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Jim Altman

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Hi! I'm Rev Jim Altman, the new pastor at Sussex UMC. You need to know that even though I was born and raised in the greater Pittsburgh area, I have a Packer plate on my main car and am well-aware of where I live now. I've been a United Methodist pastor for thirty-three years. Most of my appointments were in the Florida Conference, as far north as Jacksonville and as far south as the Florida Keys. And you'll notice that I import quite a bit of Southern and no small amount of Tropical wherever I go. I call it "relaxed elegance," but it's a blend of Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffett and Jeff Foxworthy, with a dash of Sonny Crockett for good measure. It was in 2004 that I took that wrong turn at the Jacksonville Post Office and ended up in Stanley, Wisconsin at the Stanley-Thorp-Cadott Charge. Four years later, hooked on the cheese, I transferred my membership into the Wisconsin Conference and was promptly reassigned to the Rice Lake-Canton Charge. Eight years later, and the Bishop said, "Go east, young man," and here I am.

I guess my hobbies, if they can be called that, are anything church-related. I was spending every minute of my free time involved in my church in DeLand, Florida, and in that conference's youth and young adult ministries, so I decided that church should be my vocation and not just my avocation. God was leading. I was following. It's been a real adventure, to say the least. Ministry has taken me halfway around the globe, to the Holy Land three times, to follow the sea voyages of Paul, up some pretty high mountains, and diving beneath the clear blue water of the Keys. I've biked, hiked, canoed, golfed, played softball, basketball, volleyball, four-square, and thrown darts, all in the pursuit of ministry. I've deep fried turkeys, grilled burgers and brats, smoked ribs, let the good times roll, and tripped the light-fantastic, all in the name of Jesus. Church has taught me many a thing that I'd never have learned elsewhere, including how to cook and sing. As anyone can easily see, I love to eat, an especially United Methodist trait. I can already foresee a number of themed dinners in our fantastic fellowship hall. "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" I'm ready to rock and roll! Are you?

Still, the greatest privilege of ministry for me has been being welcomed into the lives and homes of thousands of parishioners. Oh, the places I've gone and the people I've met! What an honor it's been! And, behold! a whole new family of friends to be a part of. I'm looking forward to it. Don't be surprised or afraid when I call, asking to come by and visit. Relax, don't worry. I don't come with an agenda. I just want to get to know you. Acts Chapter Two teaches us that when a group of people are in one place and in one accord some amazing things can happen.