Rev. Dr. Wayne Chasney
Pastor Wayne began his ministry at Monroeville in August, 1993, after graduating from Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA. Pastor Wayne has his Doctorate of Ministry from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a focus on ministry in the small church.
In his spare time, Pastor Wayne loves running, reading and cheering for the Minnesota Vikings.
Pastor Wayne is married to Rev. Wendy Schindler-Chasney, pastor of St. John's UCC, Milan. They have two daughters.
"While they were talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." (Luke 24:36)
In my ministry I am constantly running into the idea that everything will be just fine if we have enough "faith." If we believe in Jesus strongly enough, if we trust God completely enough, if our faith is as deep as the ocean, then nothing bad will happen to us. Faith is worn like a supernatural talisman warding off evil spirits and casting an aura of protection around us and those we love. You just gotta have faith.
On its surface, this way of thinking sounds appealing. We should have "faith." We should trust God and commit ourselves fully to Jesus Christ. And doing so ought to count for something.
However, there is also a dark side to this cherished belief and it's summed up in the question nearly every person who has ever suffered in any way has asked: why me? Why did this bad thing happen to me? Did I not believe enough? Was my faith not strong enough? What did I do wrong?
Or, in our more judgmental moments, we might think, "Why did this bad thing happen to you?" Hmmmm.
I have seen enough suffering to be convinced that it does not come down to a measure of faith. Rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. And I know some faithful folks who have seen a lot of rain. I also know of people who then ask what's the use? If my faith won't protect me from bad things happening in my life, why bother?
My answer is, "Peace."
The gift my faith has given me is a sense of peace even in times of pain and struggle and certainly in times of joy and comfort. Faith is not a promise that everything will be alright but the promise that when everything is certainly not alright I will not be at war within. My spirit will not wither, my hope will not fade away, and even in my loneliest moments I will not feel abandoned or all alone. Peace.
Nurturing our faith will not insure that nothing bad will ever happen to us. Instead, nurturing our faith means that when bad things do happen to us we will still know God's gift of peace. And when we are struggling in life, God's peace is a wonderful gift to receive.